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Blum & Poe : Takashi Murakami - Davy Jonesí Tear - 3 May 2008 to 14 June 2008

Current Exhibition

3 May 2008 to 14 June 2008
Hours -Tuesday - Saturday from 10:30 am to 6 pm
Blum & Poe
2754 S. La Cienega Blvd
CA 90034
Los Angeles, CA
North America
p: +1 (310) 836-2062
f: +1 (310) 836-2104

Takashi Murakami, Dumb Compass, 2008
acrylic, platinum and gold leaf on canvas mounted on board, 118 x 92.3 inches
© 2008 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., All Rights Reserved
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Artists in this exhibition: Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami
Davy Jonesí Tear
May 3 Ė June 14, 2008
Opening reception: Saturday, May 3, 2008

Blum & Poe is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by the acclaimed artist Takashi Murakami. This marks Murakamiís fifth solo exhibition with Blum & Poe.

In a sensational display of new paintings, Takashi Murakami presents three distinct seriesóDaruma portraits, Korin landscapes, and abstractionsóeach signaling a playful turn toward the optical and gestural. Each image is built up from an innumerable mosaic of digital fragments that result in a visual unity that complicates the boundary between visceral and virtual realms of perception. This technical strategy is part of the artistís larger interest in the power of fantasy and deception rooted in special effects technologies developed by Industrial Light and Magic in George Lucas films and in integrating this genre into his own practice.

Departing from the refined formalism of his previous work, the paintings combine a new lexicon of dramatic techniques ranging from sprayed ink blots, drips, Benday dots and thick calligraphic brush strokes with a brilliantly rich palette of pastels, deep hues and metallic leaf layers that entertain the eyeís movement along the surface. The works also contain the artistís continued interest in the decorative aesthetics found in the 18th century Rimpa school and the dynamic affects of Zen ink paintings by Kyoto school Eccentric artists from the Edo period.

Enhancing the direct relationship between calligraphy and abstraction, the three Daruma portraits depict the great 6th century sage who introduced Zen Buddhism, and are identified both in image and signature (Daruma daishi=Daruma the Great) writ large. In Release Chakraís gate at this instant, the artist flattens Darumaís corpulent head and eyes as a glowing red light emanates from his urna and two disciples loom in the background. The works pay homage to the 18th century Eccentric painter, Soga Shohaku whose two aliases (Kishinsai, Dasokuken) are marked above the artistís name in the bottom right corner in each of the series. In contrast to the gestural dynamism of the Daruma portraits, the two Ogata Korin landscapes are appropriations of 18th century painterís commissioned fan paintings in serial versions of platinum and gold. Murakami overlays Korinís glistening ornate waves with his signature flowers adapted into voluminous chrysanthemums. Reflecting Murakamiís own interest in artistic identity and branding, these works are also signed with Korinís two aliases, the honorable HŰkyŰ and his product identity, Kansei printed inside a red seal.

The three abstract paintings signal perhaps Murakamiís most radical departure, signaling a revived interest in the design patterns of graffiti, Op art, and special effects, through carefully studied compositions and balance of forms. Davy Jonesí Tear is adapted from a heartfelt scene in the ďPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís ChestĒ where the villain reveals his inner torment while playing the organ. The perceived expressivity in these works is obfuscated by gourd-shaped inkblots, and vibrant streams dripping as if from freshly sprayed graffiti. Remixing a line of artists ranging from Pollock, Lichtenstein, Kazuo Shiraga, Sigmar Polke to Terry Winters, this new group of works perform a powerful play between the spiritual and the synthetic.

Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He founded the Hiropon factory in Tokyo in 1996, which later evolved into Kaikai Kiki Co., a large-scale art production and art management corporation. In addition to the production and marketing of Murakamiís work, Kaikai Kiki Co. functions as a supportive environment for the fostering of young Japanese artists. Murakami is also a curator, 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 to historical Japanese art. He has continued this work in subsequent exhibitions such as Coloriage (Fondation Cartier pour líart Contemporain, Paris, 2002) and Little Boy: The Art of Japanís Exploding Subcultures (Japan Society, New York, 2005).

Murakamiís work has been shown extensively in group exhibitions around the world, and in one-person exhibitions at leading institutions such as Fondation Cartier pour líart Contemporain, Paris and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001). The Brooklyn Museum of Art currently has on exhibit © MURAKAMI (April 5 Ė July 13, 2008), the most comprehensive retrospective to date of his work, this exhibition was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, where it was recently on view. In conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, his seminal sculpture Oval Buddha is on view at the 590 Sculpture Garden (April 5 Ė September 7, 2008) in Manhattan. Because of its enormous scale, it was not possible for the 6,613 pound, 18 1/2 foot-tall sculpture to be included in the Brooklyn exhibition, but arrangements were made for the 590 Sculpture Garden presentation to coincide with the survey exhibition. © MURAKAMI will travel to the Museum fŁr Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (October 27, 2008-January 4, 2009) and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (February-May 2009).

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