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From video games to kabuki: Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's monumental paintings come to France

Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami poses during a photo session at the Gagosian art Gallery in Le Bourget, north of Paris on June 8, 2023.
Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami poses during a photo session at the Gagosian art Gallery in Le Bourget, north of Paris on June 8, 2023. Copyright JOEL SAGET / AFP
Copyright JOEL SAGET / AFP
By Doloresz Katanich with AFP
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The exhibition 'Understanding the New Cognitive Domain' marks the debut of a monumental new 5-by-23-meter painting by celebrated Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

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Bright paintings that mix traditional Japanese art motifs with modern anime and manga - that is the unmistakable style of Takashi Murakami. 

The 61-year-old is one of the most renowned Japanese contemporary artists. He has sold paintings for millions of dollars and had fashion collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Kanye West. 

Murakami has regular exhibitions across the world from New York to Seoul. The Gagosian gallery at Le Bourget, just outside of Paris, is hosting the latest one. 

'Understanding the New Cognitive Domain' has a few monumental paintings, one of which is on display for the first time: '2020 The Name Succession of Ichikawa Danjūrō XIII, Hakuen, Kabuki Jūhachiban', the 5-by-23-meter painting based on the iwai-maku, or stage curtain, that Murakami produced for the Kabuki-za theatre in Ginza, Tokyo. 

Gagosian
Murakami is known for blending traditional Japanese art with contemporary pop culture elements.Gagosian

Alongside his monumental works, the artist is also exhibiting works with a pixelated look, strongly influenced by the Japanese video games of the 1970s.

The exhibition also includes several “lucky cat” paintings that reference the artist’s recent NFT projects, and other works featuring Murakami’s iconic smiling flower motif.

The artist has always embraced new technology and was an early adopter of crypto and NFTs, but even he admits fearing what AI might do to artists like him. 

"The artists who created things that are familiar to us will be overtaken and replaced by engineering techniques that will succeed in making the most bizarre things familiar. I myself work with a certain fear of one day being replaced," says Murakami.

The exhibition is open until 22 December 2023.

Watch the video above to learn more about the exhibition.

Video editor • Doloresz Katanich

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