Takashi Murakami is one of Japan`s most well known and controversial contemporary artists. Currently Astrup Fearnley´s museum is showing a number of his works in the exhibition "Murakami by Murakami". It is his first solo exhibition in Scandinavia, and this has attracted record breaking numbers of visitors so far. The exhibition is open until 14.05.2017.
It is a multifaceted exhibition ranging from object installations, to video installations, paintings, drawings and sculptures. The diverse works testify to Murakami´s many roles, from artist to activist. They also show him as a curator, as the exhibition contains a room with works from Japanese contemporary artists chosen from
Murakam´s own Kaika kiki gallery.
Murakami has been associated with the label "Superflat", a concept positioning Art as critique of superficial consumerist culture in contemporary Japan. On the other hand, Murakami has been much criticized in Japan for being overly Western in his style. Superflat also means using the techniques of Pop Art to create works that are immediately understood by a wide audience. His early works in the 1980s onward are dominated by the Superflat thinking. This period is shown separately in the exhibition, featuring his special cartoon like character "Mr DOB" in many places.
The exhibition also shows the more recent period in Murakami´s art. These works, mostly paintings, seem more personal and introverted. They show a focus on Japanese traditions; particularly history, religion and spirituality.
This exhibition has introduced Murakami to a large audience in Scandinavia. It is comprehensive and varied, showing intersections and deviations between Japan and western countries.
- Jørgen Flatabø