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Takashi Murakami

In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow

November 10, 2014–January 17, 2015
West 24th Street, New York

Installation view © 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view © 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view © 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Rob McKeever

Works Exhibited

Takashi Murakami, Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination, 2014 Mixed media, 32 ¼ × 78 ¾ × 37 inches (82 × 200 × 94 cm)© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination, 2014

Mixed media, 32 ¼ × 78 ¾ × 37 inches (82 × 200 × 94 cm)
© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo—In Communication, 2014 Acrylic, gold leaf, and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood, 141 ¾ × 141 ¾ inches (360 × 360 cm)© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo—In Communication, 2014

Acrylic, gold leaf, and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood, 141 ¾ × 141 ¾ inches (360 × 360 cm)
© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, Isle of the Dead, 2014 Acrylic, gold leaf, and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood, 141 ¾ × 189 inches (360 × 480 cm)© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, Isle of the Dead, 2014

Acrylic, gold leaf, and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood, 141 ¾ × 189 inches (360 × 480 cm)
© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, The Golden Age: Kōrin—Kansei, 2014 Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas mounted on wood, diameter: 59 inches  (150 cm)© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Takashi Murakami, The Golden Age: Kōrin—Kansei, 2014

Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas mounted on wood, diameter: 59 inches (150 cm)
© 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

About

To me, religions are a narrative. . . . Natural catastrophes, earthquakes, are things caused by nature. Such chaos is natural, but we have to make sense of it somehow, and so we had to invent these stories. That is what I wanted to paint.
—Takashi Murakami

Gagosian New York is pleased to announce In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, a major exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Takashi Murakami.

A lightning rod of cultural dichotomies (high/low, ancient/modern, oriental/occidental), Murakami believes the artist to be one who perceives and limns the borders between worlds. Combining classical techniques with the latest technologies, he moves freely within an ever-expanding field of aesthetic issues and cultural inspirations. Parallel to the dystopian themes that pervade his work, he recollects and revitalizes traditional narratives of transcendence and enlightenment, often involving outsider-savants. Mining religious and secular subjects favored by the so-called Japanese “eccentrics”—nonconformist 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.

Since the devastating Great Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011, Murakami has explored Japanese art produced in response to historic natural disasters. For example, in the aftermath of the Great Asei Edo Earthquake of 1855, painters such as Kano Kazunobu portrayed the five hundred arhats (or rakan), the spiritual protectors of the Buddha’s teachings, as stewards of enlightenment in dire times. While Kazunobu employed diverse Eastern and Western techniques in his vast scroll paintings, Murakami has created an immersive installation, entered through a 56-ton replica of a sanmon (sacred gate), of eclectic arhats; deliquescing clones of his fictional creature Mr. DOB; and karajishi, the mythic lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples. Here is a contemporary belief system, constructed in the wake of disaster, that merges earlier faiths, myths, and images into a syncretic spirituality of the artist’s imagination. In totemic sculptures representing demons, religious sites, and self-portraits, and in paintings that conflate classical Japanese techniques with Abstract Expressionist tropes, science-fiction, manga, and Buddhist and Shinto imagery, Murakami investigates the role of faith amid the inexorable transience and trauma of existence.

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