Takashi Murakami

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  • Topic: Takashi Murakami, Art, Japanese art
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  • Published : May 21, 2007
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Takashi Murakami, is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist. Murakami works in both fine arts media, such as painting; as well as digital and commercial media. He attempts to blur the boundaries between high and low art. He appropriates popular themes from mass media and pop culture, then turns them into thirty-foot sculptures, "Superflat" paintings, or marketable commercial goods such as figurines or phone caddies.

Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, where he attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Murakami started as a student of more traditionalist Japanese art. He pursued a doctorate in Nihonga, a mixture of Western and Eastern styles dating back to the late 19th century. However, due to the mass popularity of anime and manga, Japanese styles of animation and comic graphic stories, Murakami became disillusioned with Nihonga, and became fixated on otaku culture. Otaku culture is most often an unfavorable reference to a "nerd" society, consisting of people that take an obsessive interest in manga or anime. He felt that otaku culture was more representative of modern day Japanese life.

This resulted in Superflat, the style that Murakami is credited with starting. Superflat is a style developed from Poku,(Pop+otaku). Murakami has written that he aims to represent Poku culture because he expects that animation and otaku might create a new culture. This new culture being a rejuvenation of the contemporary Japanese art scene. This is what it is all about to Murakami; he has expressed in several interviews in the last five or six years the frustration that his art has risen from. It is a frustration rooted in the lack of a reliable and sustainable art market in post-war Japan, and the general view of Japanese art in and outside the country as having a low art status. He is quoted as saying that the market is nothing but " a shallow appropriation of Western trends". His first reaction was to make art in non-fine arts media, but decided...
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