Sign of change

Murakami: from the empire of signs to the influence of signs

Contemporary Art | Takashi Murakami’s exhibition “Learning the Magic Of The Painting” at Emmanuel Perrotin calls to mind Roland Barthes’ work “Empire of Signs” reflecting on his travels in Japan.

Takashi MURAKAMI ‘‘Ensō: At Our Side, Bending Space-time, 2015 © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co.Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
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Takashi MURAKAMI "Ensō: At Our Side, Bending Space-time, 2015
© Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co.Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

Mixing and multiplying signs is a recurring characteristic of Takashi Murakami’s work, situated at the crossroads of Pop Art, comic book and manga culture. His is a body of work filled with references to the pantheon of spirits and gods, and replete with colors, signs and energy.

For his Parisian exhibition, the artist adds references to the major Western painters Bacon, Picasso and Klein – artists that have become values themselves.
Into this dense network of signs, the artist inserts an effigy of himself in the form of a divinity endowed with three sets of eyes, linked with his Mr. DOB character, a self-portrait with exaggeratedly enlarged eyes, a sign of emotion in manga culture.

As for the exhibition layout, the artist has occupied both galleries, transforming them into a flagship store for the “Murakami universe” with its characteristic scrambling of codes. Half initiation right and half commercial endeavor, the gallery visit concludes with a series of works that pair paintings and handbags - each duo selling for $55,000. Savvy marketing of works, objects and products is something the artist cites as participating in the heritage of Warhol and Haring.
In the press release, Murakami’s text on the magic of painting strikes the reader as a piece of meta-theatrics… under the influence of signs, indeed.

Manuel Fialho
Publié le 28/09/2016
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Version française

Takashi MURAKAMI “Ensō: At Our Side, Bending Space-time, 2015 © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co.Courtesy Galerie Perrotin Vue de l’exposition “Takashi Murakami, Learning the Magic of Painting“ à la Galerie Perrotin, Paris © Akashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin Takashi MURAKAMI“Homage to Francis Bacon,2016 © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin Exposition Takashi Murakami “Learning the Magic of Painting”, Galerie Perrotin, Paris © Galerie Perrotin Photos: Claire Dor

Takashi MURAKAMI "Ensō: At Our Side, Bending Space-time, 2015
© Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co.Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

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