A retrospective exhibition on Murakami at Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouverites, you may have spotted the huge coloured octopus adorning the roof of the Vancouver Art Gallery on your walks along Georgia Street. So what is said larger than life creature? -it’s a new major public artwork from Takashi Murakami, a Japanese contemporary artist, whose retrospective is happening right now at VAG. It’s as if Murakami’s work is crawling out of the gallery space enticing us to come inside.
Kicking off the spring season in style, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is in fact the first ever major retrospective of Takashi Murakami’s work showcased in Canada. Micro Macro, on the hunt for visual intrigue, entered the world of Takashi Murakami for an immersive art experience; just like stepping inside Murakami’s creative, eccentric brain.
Murakami’s huge canvases present a massive scale that is truly awe-inspiring, and fills the white gallery space with vibrant brilliant colour, creating a strong impact.
Featuring over 55 impressive paintings and sculptures, the work makes up a colourful frenzy of energy. Taking a closer look at Murakami’s pieces you can truly value the artist’s role as a cultural commentator with works offering a serious engagement on issues affecting Japan and the larger world today, from media culture to globalisation to the threats of nuclear power.
We took a journey through 3 decades of Murakami’s art from his earliest mature work right through to present day. It was compelling to see the evolution in his designs. We were particularly taken by the 1990s distinctive, anime-influenced style known as Superflat with signature animated flowers. On your visit, keep an eye out for the iconic character Mr. DOB, a self-portrait, who features in some of the works.
Along with Nihonga-style paintings, we were met with huge menacing demon-like sculptures, cartoonish with flared nostrils, who took an ominous presence in the gallery.
Takashi Murakami’s dedication to exquisite craftsmanship and fun pop aesthetics made for a unique, dynamic showcase. It was a real pleasure to get an insight into the imagination of this influential and visionary artist.
The exhibition closes May 6th so make sure to get yourself down to the gallery. You don’t want to miss out on this vibrant frenzy of colour, a little escapism is good for the soul!
About Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, Japan. He studied at Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, where he received his BFA in 1986, his MFA in 1988, and his Ph.D. in 1993. He is the founder of the art production and management company Kaikai Kiki, which evolved from its predecessor, the Hiropon Factory founded in 1996.
Murakami is well known for his high-profile projects with brands such as Louis Vuitton, VANS, shu uemura, Issey Miyake, Lucien Pellat-Finet, Roppongi Hills and ComplexCon, as well as collaborations with musicians such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
Images courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery.