Takashi Murakami’s new Paris show has been open to public for a couple of weeks and the accompanying response in the press has made it clear that, once again, the Japanese artist has stretched the boundaries of this oeuvre. The show, titled ‘Learning the Magic of Painting’, features dozens of new works that deal with both new and familiar subjects.
The most interesting works on view at Perrotin Gallery combine the two. Takashi Murakami, for instance, combines his growing fascination for Zen symbolism and Enso circles with his signature skulls and flowers. Another important new theme are his reflections on the purpose of religion, which appeared in his work since the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Here, they are cast in the form of an interpretation of the ancient Arhats (Buddhist followers) inspired by his own blend of anime and pop art.
Takashi Murakami’s 727 and homage to Francis Bacon
Highlights of the exhibition include new versions of the 727 and his homages to Francis Bacon. Both go back to some of our favourite works by Murakami and the accompanying prints are counted among his classics. The new 727 paintings add a layer of graffiti-like symbolism to a foreground of his familiar mr. DOB riding waves that are taken from old Japanese prints.
The works that are part of his Homage to Francis Bacon, according to the gallery, ‘once again focus on tortured figures, where moving flesh reveals the scars & agonies of the soul of the human being,’ To the Wall Street Journal, Takashi Murakami himself said about this work: ‘Bacon’s themes were becoming more and more masochistic. That was reflected in his technique and his structure. I thought this was something I would like to learn, so I made my own studies of it…. What makes Bacon so interesting is that there is imbalance in his work, but at the same time it is perfectly balanced. This is something I wanted to develop.’
The magic of painting
In fact, to coincide with the exhibition, Murakami has published a long artist statement in which he discusses ‘the magic of painting’ and his own practise. He discuss how the magic of painting and creating might not always feel as being present during the making of his artworks, but upon looking back these traces of magic are certainly to be found. Which, Murakami says, motivates hem to continue to practices and strife for perfectionism.
Will this ever end? Probably not. Being one of the most prolific and hard working artists of his generation, running galleries and production companies on the side, he will continue to develop – making the works and prints he leaves behind ever so interesting and important to trace his career. As he writes in his artist statement: ‘Until the moment my body expires, in the near future, I wish to continue perfecting my magic circle that may summon the magic, to understand the essence of the magic of painting, and to try and complete the recipe for generating the magic of painting.’
Japanese Neo Pop-Art
Takashi Murakami (1963) is a Japanese Neo Pop-Art artist from Itabashi, he works and lives in Tokyo and New York. His art seeks to break the barriers between low and high art, using imagery that’s inspired by Manga and Anime figures. In his work he combines traditional Japanese imagery with (Japanese) pop culture. Murakami’s distinctive “Superflat” style challenges our ideas on secular and religious visual culture, while it is often both a commentary on, as well as an homage to the history of art.
Limited edition prints available at Famous
In 1996 he created the Hiropan Factory reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s The Factory, where his assistants cooperate with him on his artworks. Time placed Murakami in its list of 100 most influential people in 2008. He was the only visual artist that made the list. Murakami is still one of the leading contemporary Japanese artists and a favourite of international collectors. Famous and Reflex Modern Art Gallery are proud to be able to offer one of the most varied collections of Murakami prints around. Explore our website and feel free to contact us with any questions.