Takashi Murakami - Flowers & Skulls

Blue Flowers & Skulls, 2012 
Acrylic on canvas mounted on board
74 13/16 x 60 1/4 inches  (190 x 153 cm) 
© Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Download Press Release PDF (84 Kb)
Chinese Version PDF (367 Kb)

[Scroll down for Chinese version / 向下滾動的中文版本]

Opening reception for the artist: Thursday, November 29th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm

What is Art?

For those of us born in Asia, it remains an ever important question. The reason is that what we today define as Art represents the path followed by Western art history and yet here in the East, we have our own history. To survive as artists, we must learn to resolve the collision of these two cultures.

My own personal position is drawn from how well I can arrange the unique flowers of Asia, moreover the ever strange blossoms that have bloomed in the madness of the defeated culture of postwar Japan, into work that will live within the confines of Western art history.
—Takashi Murakami

This exhibition, Takashi Murakami's first in Hong Kong, explores one of the central dichotomies of his art—between joy and terror, his optimistic magnanimity as an artist and his pessimistic perspective on postwar Japan. Here, this dichotomy is symbolized by the stark contrast of bright smiling flowers and disturbing, menacing representations of skulls. Whether depicted as single iconic "portraits" or in complex clusters of virtuoso composition and paintwork that combine painstaking traditional artisanal techniques with the pop and fizz of manga, the flower and the skull stand as eternal motifs in the history of art and popular culture. Both oppositional and parallel, they are reminders of the fragile vibrancy of life and the inexorable passing of time.

A lightning rod between different cultural valencies (high/low, ancient/modern, oriental/occidental), Murakami has stated that the artist is someone who understands the borders between worlds and who makes an effort to know them. With his distinctive "Superflat" style and ethos, which employs highly refined classical Japanese painting techniques to depict a super-charged mix of Pop, animé and otaku content within a flattened representational picture-plane, he moves freely within an ever-expanding field of aesthetic issues and cultural inspirations. Parallel to utopian and dystopian themes, he recollects and revitalizes narratives of transcendence and enlightenment, often involving outsider-savants. Mining religious and secular subjects favored by the so-called Japanese "eccentrics" or non-conformist artists of the Early Modern era commonly considered to be counterparts of the Western Romantic tradition, Murakami situates himself within their legacy of bold and lively individualism in a manner that is entirely his own and of his time.

Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo University of the Arts (formerly the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music). He founded the Hiropon factory in Tokyo in 1996, which later evolved into Kaikai Kiki, an art production and art management corporation. In addition to the production and marketing of Murakami's art and related work, Kaikai Kiki functions as a supportive environment for the fostering of emerging artists. Murakami is also a curator, a cultural entrepreneur, and a critical observer of contemporary Japanese society. In 2000, he organized a paradigmatic exhibition of Japanese art titled “Superflat,” which traced the origins of contemporary Japanese visual pop culture in historical Japanese art. He has continued this work in subsequent impactful exhibitions such as "Coloriage" (Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2002) and “Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subcultures” (Japan Society, New York, 2005). In 2011, he organized the "New Day: Artists for Japan" international charity auction at Christie’s New York in response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

Murakami's major solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris; Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); Château de Versailles, France (2010). A comprehensive survey exhibition “© MURAKAMI” opened at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2007 and traveled to Brooklyn Museum, New York, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao during 2008–09. His most recent institutional exhibition “Murakami-Ego,” whose centerpiece was an astonishing 100 meter painting inspired by the Tōhoku earthquake, took place in 2012 at the Al Riwaq Hall in Doha, Qatar. Murakami currently lives and works in Tokyo.

For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +852.2151.0555.


開幕酒會: 11 月29 日(星期四)下午6 時到8 時





是次展覽-村上隆在香港的首個展覽-主要探索他藝術裡其中一項最重要的二分法:愉快 與驚駭、作為藝術家的樂觀寬容與對戰後日本的悲觀看法,由笑容燦爛的花朵與邪惡可怕 的骷髗頭像之間的強烈對比作象徵。無論是標誌性的單一「肖像」,抑或以群集形式出現 ,運用到大師級繪畫與構圖技巧,揉合了精細傳統工藝與通俗肥皂泡漫畫的複雜建構,花 與骷髏頭在美術史和流行文化裡都是永恆的主題。它們的性質既相反,亦相似,令人聯想 到生命的脆弱與時光飛逝之無情

村上隆曾說過,藝術家是了解不同世界之間的界線並努力去搞懂它的人,就如不同文化價 值之間的「避雷針」(高尚/低俗、古代/現代、東方/西方) 憑著其招牌「超級扁平 《Superflat》風格和精神,村上隆以精煉的古典日本畫技巧,在扁平化的圖像空間裡,將 流行、動漫與御宅族內容混合成一種感覺超豐富的意象,所涉獵的美學領域和文化靈感不 斷延伸,而他在當中游走自如。一如常見的烏托邦與敵托邦主題,他喚醒、活化了有關超 越與啟蒙的敘述,時而涉及外人學者。他所開發的宗教與世俗主題,向來就深受現代時期 之初被喻為日本「奇人」或反傳統藝術家的喜愛,這常被視為跟西方浪漫派傳統相呼應 村上隆把自己置身於他們大膽、熱烈的個人主義遺蔭裡,展現出的姿態卻是完全屬於他本 人和他的時代的

村上隆1962 年生於東京,擁有東京藝術大學(前身為東京美術學校及東京音樂學校)的美術 學士、碩士及博士學位。他於1996 年在東京創立Hiropon 工作室,其後發展成藝術製作 及管理公司Kaikai Kiki。除了製作及銷售村上隆的藝術及相關作品,KaikaiKiki 亦積極培 育 日本年輕藝術家。村上隆身兼策展人及文化創業家,亦是當代日本社會的批判觀察者

2000 年,他舉行日本藝術展覽《Superflat》,從歷史悠久的日本藝術中追溯當代日本流 行視覺藝術文化的起源。他後來亦舉辦多場極具影響力的展覽,例如《Coloriage》(巴黎 卡地亞當代藝術基金會,2002 年)及《小男孩:日本爆發的次文化藝術》(Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subcultures) (紐約日本協會,2005 年)

村上隆的作品曾於世界各地的聯合展覽中展出,他亦在著名藝術機構舉行個展,例如巴黎 卡地亞當代藝術基金會、倫敦 Serpentine Gallery(2002  年)、東京都現代美術館(2001 年)、 波士頓美術館(2001 年),而於洛杉磯當代藝術館(2007 年)舉行的個展亦巡展至布魯克林博 物館及法蘭克福現代美術館,並於2009 年2 月於畢爾包古根漢美術館舉行 他也於 2010 年假法國凡爾賽宮舉行展覽 村上隆於卡塔爾首都多哈的伊斯蘭藝術博物館 (Museum of Islamic Art) 展出他在中東第一個大型個展《Murakami—Ego》


如有查詢,請電郵至 [email protected] 或致電 +852.2151.0555 與高古軒畫廊聯絡