Meeting with Takashi Murakami and Nobuo Tsuji
From Nihonga to Superflat
Introduction by Angela Vettese
Japanese art is characterized by the fusion of genres and cultures. The influence of the traditional aesthetics, the often harassing work-hours, the allure of internet and high technologies, and the passion, sometimes bordering obsession, for anime and manga – these are the main elements of a rich and original production, of which Murakami Takashi is one of the most representative artists.
Having been influenced by renowned Japanese Art Historian Tsuji Nobuo, Takashi Murakami has postulated the Superflat that blurs the boundaries between Occidental abstraction, traditional Japanese painting and manga. Illustrated by the works in the Pinault Collection shown at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, Takashi Murakami himself – together with Tsuji Nobuo, currently director of the Miho Museum in Shiga prefecture – offer the public a critical conversation on the continuation of the Japanese tradition in contemporary art production. More than a welding, Takashi Murakami’s art is true mix of visual elements coming from the past and an interpretation of the current Japanese imagination with a sharp and ironic lucidity.
At the heart of this conversation, the artist stresses on the work 727-272 (The Emergence of God at the Reversal of Fate). This site-specific work created for Palazzo Grassi on the occasion of the exhibition Mapping the Studio is a fresco of a rare intensity. It is composed of a plethora of peculiar characters: from the wise old man inspired of legendary Chinese emperor Shennong, “divine peasant”, god of agriculture and medicine, to the great lion that smiles over a pile of skulls and all the way to Mr Dob, the manga doppelganger of Murakami and true key to penetrate his universe. It is through this strange alter ego, endowed with multiple bulging eyes and who holds his name of the word dobojite (“why”), that the artist offers to deny the doctrinal approach, and to consider each single thing under the infinite perspectives that the world provides.
Detail from 727-272 , 2006-2009, Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas mounted on board 3000 x 24000 x 70 mm (16 panels) Courtesy Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris (c) 2006-2009 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.