Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto Solo Show

Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto

Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto, a comprehensive solo exhibition featuring the works of Takashi Murakami (b. 1962), starts on February 3 at the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art, coinciding with the museum’s 90th anniversary celebration in 2023. Murakami, whose academic focus was nihonga (traditional Japanese painting), draws significant inspiration from the artists of Kyoto during the Edo period, incorporating their styles into his creations. This exhibition offers a glimpse into Murakami’s newly envisioned Murakami World, exploring the city that has intrigued the artist since the inception of his career.

Murakami’s concept of Superflat, introduced in 2000, has significantly influenced contemporary art by bridging traditional Japanese visual expressions with elements of pop culture such as anime, manga, and video games. Moreover, it delves into Japanese societal nuances pre-and post-World War II, alongside considerations of capitalism, politics, and religion, all within a flattened artistic framework. Through a distinctly Japanese lens, Murakami’s career has continuously challenged and invigorated the international art scene, often dominated by Western paradigms.

The exhibition, divided into multiple segments, showcases approximately 170 artworks, the majority of which are either new creations or pieces never before displayed in Japan. Highlights include the debut of Murakami’s Rakuchū-Rakugai-zu Byōbu: Iwasa Matabei RIP series, themed around the four deities symbolizing cardinal directions, among other representative works.

Over the seven-month duration of the exhibition, special programs inspired by traditional Japanese seasonal events and Kyoto festivals will complement the displays, alongside lectures and gallery talks. Further details will be available on the exhibition’s website and social media channels.

Exhibition Highlights:

  • A 13-meter-long reinterpretation of the masterpiece Rakuchu Rakugai Zu greets visitors, paying homage to Iwasa Matabei’s original work.
  • Murakami’s rendition of The Wind and Thunder Gods and Dragon and Clouds challenges the unconventional styles of Edo period painters, notably Soga Shohaku and Tawaraya Sotatsu.
  • Murakami’s depiction of Heian-kyo, surrounded by the Four Symbols, serves as a centerpiece, alongside the Hexagonal Double-Helix Tower, symbolizing protection against malevolent spirits.

More on Murakami and the exhibition here.

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