727-727 | Takashi Murakami | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
Past exhibition


02.17.2009 - 05.31.2009

Born in Tokyo in 1962, Takashi Murakami is one of the most influential artists to come out of Japan in recent decades. Formally trained in Nihonga (a painting style focused on traditional Japanese techniques and subject matter), Murakami earned a Ph.D. from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1993, and emerged out of Japan's Neo-Pop generation after the collapse of Japan's bubble economy in the late 1980s.

Although the artist has consistently incorporated contemporary Japanese popular culture in the forms of anime (animation) and manga (comic books) into his work, he has also continued to draw on traditional Japanese sources ranging from Buddhist imagery, 12th-century picture scrolls and Zen painting, and compositional techniques from 18th-century Edo eccentric painting. Forging a new reciprocal relationship between high art and mass culture, Murakami's artistic practice is predicated on seeing art as a part of the economy. The artist is significant for carving out a new entrepreneurial model based on a transformation of applied market strategies.

This model can be attributed to the global shift from a consumer-based society to a service-oriented economy, which differentiates Murakami from Andy Warhol and his contemporaries Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. In addition to creating artworks, Murakami has made a constellation of ancillary activities integral to his practice by taking on the roles of curator, lecturer, event coordinator, radio host, newspaper columnist, and manager of emerging artists. His international corporation Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., with its multi-faceted operations in mass-produced merchandising, animated film production, and corporate design commissions─including his renowned collaboration with Louis Vuitton─reveals his aim to creatively widen art's distributive capacities.

© MURAKAMI is the most comprehensive retrospective of the artist's work to date. It features more than 90 artworks in various media including painting, sculpture, installation, and film that track the ongoing evolution of Murakami's anime alter ego DOB, otaku-inspired figure projects of the late ‘90s, and an archive of licensed Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. merchandise that span Murakami's entire career.


Takashi Murakami
727-727, 2006
Acrylic on canvas mounted on board
300 x 450 x 7 cm
The Steven A. Cohen Collection
©2006 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved