Takashi Murakami Learn about TAKASHI MURAKAMI (B. 1962), Post-War & Contemporary Art artist,their past and upcoming works offered at auction at Christie's

In recent decades Japanese art has achieved immense popularity in the West while being little understood. Critics have focused on the superficiality and infantilism they find prevalent in the work. In the mid-1990s the artist Takashi Murakami coined the term ‘superflat’ to describe the distinctive treatment of space in contemporary Japanese art. His argument is that all art is two-dimensional and so should be given equal weight, be it a pop video, a cartoon or a painting. He believes it is a way of levelling the playing field between high and low culture.

Born in 1962, Murakami studied at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo. His art is rooted in the history of Japan and in particular the impact of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. ‘During my childhood, there were a lot of people around me who were damaged by the war and suffered from sicknesses caused by the atomic bomb,’ he explains. ‘The question of society’s responsibility to these victims was taken up over and over in countless television programs.’

Employing highly refined classical Japanese painting techniques Murakami creates supercharged cartoony paintings on a flattened representational picture-plane. The subject matter can range from religious iconography and ancient woodcuts to commercial Japanese design, and the results are bright and eccentric. Quasi-sculptures and balloons depict goggle-eyed rabbits and smiley flowers; installations featuring his most famous creation, Mr Dob, are like a kid’s paradise of kitsch delight.

In 1996 he founded the Hiropon Factory in Tokyo, which was inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory. Now called Kaikai Kiki, the establishment is an art production and art management corporation manufacturing and distributing Murakami’s art as well as fostering young emerging artists.

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