Last weekend, I went to see Takashi Murakami’s latest exhibition at the London Gagosian Gallery.
The prolific Japanese contemporary artist, famed for his mixture of fine art, oversized (and over-sexed) sculptures and “Superflat” media has put together a collection of work which highlights the exaggerated sexualisation present in modern culture such as anime. More to the point, it’s this “enduring obsession with sexuality in contemporary human society” which has become more common place.
Centre stage to this analysis are the two large figures “Nurse Ko2″, and the pendulous over-proportioned “3-Meter Girl“. Accompanying these are Mr Big Mushroom and Miss Clam, genitalia edifices with cartoon-like characteristics.. the subject of taboo given a cutesy remodeling is somewhat amusing & compelling as a testament to Takashi’s message.
In a stark contrast to the central showpieces, around the outside of the room are a series of Triptychs honoring the artist Kuroda Seiki. Kuroda was responsible for bringing yōga or Western-style painting to Meiji- period Japan, and “promoted the genre of history painting, as well as the validity of the nude figure as a subject for art.” His own Triptych Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment expresses the female form almost as an anatomical study, void of any sexual overtness, but rather natural beauty. Murakami takes this and re-produces the realism in a modern manga-like illustrative series of paintings. Each of his own Triptychs attempt to improve on the last, getting closer and closer to a typically classic fine-art nude. It is this complete opposite of the central exhibits’ sexual appearance which hits home the artist’s viewpoints on modern society, and completes his analysis on sex & media.
“I think the Japanese male sexual complex originated in the two-dimensional world –animation, games and so on – which then transferred to small three-dimensional sculptures. But before my sculptures Miss Ko (1997) and My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), it had never been represented life-size. “
The exhibition was then finished with 2 examples of Murakami’s detailled superflat artworks, involving multiple skull shapes engulfed by colour and patterns, as well as a giant sized “cardboard toy” big blox pko2…
Artist’s Website : Kaikai Kiki