Takashi in Superflat Wonderland


Takashi Murakami is perhaps the most well known contemporary artist from Japan. His work concerns the world of the otaku, men who are obsessed with computers, anime and manga to the detriment of their social skills. Equally as interesting as Murakami's works are the production techniques and theoretical stances which lie behind them. His concept of the 'Superflat' - part historical orientation, part marketing - gives this exhibition at Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul part of its title.

Superflat has been the subject of many of Murakami's exhibits, and has also generated much discussion. For example, this wonderful essay contrasts Superflat with the the West's impulses towards hierarchy and the transcendent. In one of the best displays at the Plateau exhibit, Murakami's statues of KaiKai and Kiki (creatures in bunny suits) are displayed flanking Rodin's The Gates of Hell with the effect that the Rodin is immediately flattened out. Whatever transcendental imagery and religious depth Rodin may have intended, the juxtaposition effectively reduces it to a stylistic choice.

The other part of the exhibition, the Wonderland, involves Murakami's sexual fantasies. For Project KO2, Murakami has rendered life-size statues of cyborg Lolitas - not a particularly unusual theme in anime - and in doing so he gives them a presence that is sexual but not exclusively so. The level of detail and care that has gone into their construction makes them the highlights of the show, and interestingly they form the only part of the exhibition where photography is prohibited.

Takashi in Superflat Wonderland is at Plateau in Seoul, South Korea until the 8th of December, 2013

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