“Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics” is a collaboration of works with Nobuo Tsuji now on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The special exhibition showcases the latest large scale Murakami works and the correlating masterworks that directly informed his compositions. Murakami’s nod to the traditional works is a demonstration of respect for the artists from previous generations and their works that taught specific forms and content. The past works possess artistic voice of a specific time and preserve that impression. Taking images from the past and representing them in a new way at present demands an immediate consideration of the viewers time, scale, and place among others.
Murakami is one of the most prominently influential artists to have come out of Japan for the better part of the last century. Best known for work that incorporates large accumulations of detailed imagery, his fantastical landscapes tap into another dimension and propose an alternative to reality. This is seen in the iconic all over compositions of animated flowers, among others. The paintings of Murakami additionally have been utilized in collaborations in a multiplicity of forms which include but are not limited to: patterns for high end leather good, such as Louis Vuitton.
It is traditional when undergoing training in the arts for practitioners to learn to paint from assignments of copying masters imagery in order to learn technique and composition. But years later, appropriation of imagery from masters is a nod to the influence that the current piece was inspired from. The symbolism can be seen as a clear message of desire for dialogue between the two artists to exist. This is birthed out of a great deal of respect for the influence and legacy of the others practice.
Takashi Murakami, detail of "Dragon in Clouds—Red Mutation: The version I painted myself in annoyance after Professor Nobuo Tsuji told me, “Why don’t you paint something yourself for once?” (2010). Courtesy of the artist, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston & Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.
Soga Shōhaku, "Dragon and Clouds" (1763). Ink on paper. Courtesy of: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Lots, Lots of Kaikai and Kiki (2009) is composed from acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas then mounted on aluminum frame. It is here that the iconic Murakami aesthetic is on display. Detail oriented, meticulous, animated, among others. The bright colors are playful, and the imagery is evocative of a parrallel dimmension. The smiling, laughing flowers and faces adorned with multiple eyes or rabbit ears depict a jovial narrative of confusion and abundance.
Additionally, as seen in Takashi Murakami’s Dragon in Clouds—Red Mutation: The version I painted myself in annoyance after Professor Nobuo Tsuji told me, “Why don’t you paint something yourself for once?” there is a narrative at play. It is clear that the imagery if referential; the emphasis is in the eyes of the dragon, which are central in the composition. The utilization of primarily red hues pushes the viewer’s eye back out from the composition, rather than permitting a space to be drawn into. This work is in direct reference and conversation with Soga Shōhaku’s, Dragon and Clouds (1763). This work was realized with the traditional mediums of the era, ink and paper. Murakami’s version of this composition is painted in acrylic.
Takashi Murakami, "And then, and then, and then, and then, and then/ green truth" (2006). Courtesy of: the artist, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston & Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd..
Takashi Murakami, Kawaii - vacances (Summer Vacation in the Kingdom of the Golden) (2008) is realized again from an acrylic and gold leaf on canvas then mounted on an aluminum frame. This can be viewed in direct comparison to the School of Tawaraya Sōtatsu’s Poppies from the 17th century. This remarkable work was realized with ink and color on gold-leafed paper. The difference in the materials that are used to realize the compositions is noteworthy, as Murakami’s reflects a contemporary approach to making art, the School of Tawaraya Sotatsu’s work speaks to the 17th century. What is shared is the utilization of gold leaf, which achieves two items effectively. First is the agenda to bridge the time between past and present through an application gold leaf. Second it allows a discussion of value to directly enter the conversation around the work.
Takashi Murakami, "Kawaii - vacances (Summer Vacation in the Kingdom of the Golden)" (2008). Courtesy of: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston & Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.
School of Tawaraya Sōtatsu, "Poppies", (17th century). Courtesy of: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The run dates of the special exhibition are October 18, 2017- April 1, 2018. For more information, including accessibility and ticketing, please visit: https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/takashi-murakami
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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