On the occasion of the opening of Perrotin Dubai, the gallery is partnering with ICD Brookfield Place to organize the first exhibition of Takashi Murakami in Dubai. The exhibition brings together a selection of the artist’s iconic works: paintings, sculptures and installations of various sizes and mediums.
Takashi Murakami’s works are in the world’s largest public and private collections, like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. This presentation in Dubai is the 14th solo exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery since he met Emmanuel Perrotin in 1993.
Takashi Murakami, a doctor of Nihonga painting, combines the most modern techniques with the precision and virtuosity of traditional Japanese art. Inspired by manga and kawaii cultures, his universe is populated by monstrous and charming characters, mischievous descendants of old myths. Since 2001, his Superflat aesthetic has blurred the boundaries between popular and high art.
The exhibition opens with a series of sculptures and paintings dedicated to Mr. DOB, the artist’s iconic character created in 1993. Mr. DOB’s design was inspired by several animated figures such as Doraemon, Sonic and Mickey Mouse. His name is a diminutive of the expression “dobojite” meaning “why” in Japanese slang. Mr. DOB has undergone many transformations over the years, but is still recognizable by the letters of his name on his face and ears. Accompanying Takashi Murakami in his existential questioning, the DOB character has developed a complex psychology, to the point of becoming the artist’s avatar.
“The existence of Murakami.Flowers extends beyond blockchain.”
Also on view: new paintings from the body of work Murakami.Flowers. A component of NFT project Murakami.Flowers, the pixelated flower paintings by Takashi Murakami combine the artist’s iconic Superflat aesthetic with the nostalgia of the graphics of 1970’s Japanese games. The series was conceived around the key number 108 associated with the Buddhist principle of bonnō, or earthly temptations; 108 backgrounds, 108 flower colors, 108 fields. Each flower of this series is unique, crafted by hand and required thousands of hours of work. Through the adaptation of an NFT into the real world, the artist bridges the physical and digital realms.
Lastly, the robot sculpture Arhat completes this exhibition. This ironic self-portrait refers to the theme of the Arhats –the clairvoyant disciples of Buddha– that Murakami has been exploring for the past ten years with the monumental painting The 500 Arhats created for his retrospective in Qatar in 2012.
Born in 1962 in Tokyo, Japan
Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan
The originator and proponent of Superflat theory, which reconstructs Japanese traditional paintings and the origin of Japanese contemporary art through visual premises of anime and manga. Murakami has created numerous characters including Miss Ko2 and Mr. DOB that reflect the otaku culture and presents them in the forms of intentionally kitsch sculptures and acutely two-dimensional paintings antithetical to the Western perspective techniques. Murakami’s cultural theory based on subcultures not only deconstructs the highbrow/lowbrow hierarchy but critically illustrates the post-World War II Japanese psychology, establishing a discourse unique to Japan in the increasingly globalizing art scene. The artist continues to attract a wide-ranging audience beyond contemporary art through his multifaceted activities including his collaboration with Louis Vuitton, Kanye West and Drake and focuses on street culture and contemporary ceramics. The final installment of his Superflat trilogy of curated exhibitions, Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture (New York, 2005), was awarded The Best Thematic Museum Show in New York by AICA that year. His first retrospective, ©MURAKAMI (2007 - 2009) toured four cities in North America and Europe, starting with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He has since been holding major solo exhibitions around the world, including at the Palace of Versailles (2010), Al Riwaq Exhibition Hall (Doha, 2012), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2015), Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, 2017), and Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong, 2019).
In 2021 he collaborated with RTFKT on their NFT project, Clone X, before releasing his own NFT work, Murakami.Flowers, in 2022.