Monday, 2 April 2012

Murakami in Doha

This weekend, we thought of taking a journey into Japanese pop culture with one of the most prolific contemporary artists of our time – Murakami -- at Al-Riwaq exhibition hall on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art on Corniche. Even though EGO started on February 9, we kept on postponing our visit, as the exhibition is till June 24, 2012.

A big portrait of the artist as a cartoon, Murakami, invited us at the very entrance. The artist  depicting himself as a larger than life inflatable creature, greeting visitors at the entrance of the exhibition, turns the show into a giant self-portrait, in which Murakami appears as a character in his own typically supernatural world.

The provocative title is drawn from Murakami’s desire to create an exhibition that is “a dialogue with one’s own ego,” reflecting the artist’s struggle to create a private fictional universe in response to a growing information overload.

Murakami was named one of Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ in 2008 and is considered to be an art world phenomenon. During his 20-year career, he has not only  directed music videos for Kanye West, but also has seen his work sell for over $15 million at auction, besides conceiving the ‘superflat’ design aesthetic and leading the Kaikai Kiki art collective to international acclaim.

EGO -- Takashi Murakami’s first ever exhibit in the Middle East -- is an interactive installation featuring circus tents, indoor cinemas, statues, paintings, and multimedia displays. It looks like the largest collection of his work ever presented to the public. It showcases both the diversity of Takashi Murakami’s art mediums and the singularity of his vision.
Ego is the final chapter in a trilogy of exhibitions that have established Takashi Murakami as one of the most fascinating artists working today – the other two being at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and at the Château de Versailles.
The exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, features more than 60 works from 1997 to the present -- on loan from leading international institutions and private collections, as well as several new works created especially for this show.

The exhibition features some of the artist’s most celebrated series, including “Kaikai Kiki Lots of Faces” and “Pom and Me”. For this presentation, Murakami has conceived of the exhibition itself as a work of art, creating new modes of display that include sculptural pedestals with digital animation, a circus tent that doubles as an indoor cinema and a new 100-metre-long painting that wraps around the exhibition space.

With a PhD degree in Nihonga painting from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Takashi Murakami developed a signature style where the most modern techniques combine with the skill and precision of traditional Japanese art. Since his first monographic exhibition outside Japan in 1995 at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Murakami has become recognized as one of the most prominent contemporary artists of his time.

His work have been featured in numerous solo exhibitions at museums and art institutions throughout the world, including The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning at the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, NY, in 1999; P.S.1 in Long Island City, NY, in 2000; Grand Central Station in 2001; the Fondation Cartier and the Serpentine Gallery in 2002; Rockefeller Center in 2003; and recently in the travelling retrospective ©MURAKAMI, shown first at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2007, then followed by shows at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In 2010, France’s renowned Château de Versailles organised an important solo exhibition of his works on the palace grounds.

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