Inside the Soul by Takashi Murakami

Inside the Soul

2022 TMU49
71 x 71
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Offset print, cold stamp and high gloss varnishing Frame included, white maple Edition of 300

77,5 x 77,5 cm (External dimensions)

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Takashi Murakami has firmly established himself in the international art scene with his spectacular and distinctively Japanese aesthetic. Inspired by his homeland’s anime and manga culture, he creates loud, brightly coloured paintings that are instantly recognizable and have earned him the moniker “The Japanese Andy Warhol”. In true pop-art style, he blurs the boundaries between fine art and mass culture, integrating marketing and consumerism into his artistic concept. In doing so, he traverses the spheres of art, design, and pop culture, as shown by his collaboration with Louis Vuitton and the album cover he designed for Kanye West.

While studying Art at university, Murakami began to experiment with traditional Japanese painting, an influence that is still visible in his work. The artistic approach he developed, Superflat, traces aesthetic links between contemporary Japanese pop culture and the country’s artistic heritage. Particularly important is the two-dimensional “flat” composition, a hallmark of Japan’s visual culture which differs from the illusion of spatial depth in the Western tradition. The term “Superflat” also refers to the flattening of the cultural hierarchy between “high” and “low”, something that has become popular in post-war Japan.

In Murakami’s work, cool and kitsch are never far apart. Colourful can seem bleak and apocalyptic; cute and creepy intertwine almost seamlessly. This ambiguity is what is so fascinating about his work. Diverse stimuli overwhelm viewers and suck them into the surreal and colourful imagery. Over time, the artist has created his own distinctive iconography. Laughing flowers, mushrooms, and skulls, for example, are recurrent motifs that pervade his works. They can be found throughout his paintings, sculptures, and designs.

“Flower Balls” stands out through its clever play with space and illusion. By introducing a distorted perspective, the prints appear – depending on the viewing angle – almost three-dimensional. This effect is strengthened through the floating appearance in the frame. They are super flat, and yet sculptural, at the same time.

Daniela Kummle
1962Born in Tokyo, Japan
1988Master of Fine Arts from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan
1993PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan
1998Guest Professor at UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, USA
2001Founded the art production company “Kaikai Kiki” with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and an office in New York, USA
Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan and New York, USA

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