Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection: From Shōhaku and Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer
Yokohama Museum of Art (横浜美術館)
3-4-1, Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 220-0012, Japan
This exhibition is the first large-scale public showing of the renowned contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s private collection centered around contemporary art.
Murakami (b. 1962) received the first PhD in “Nihonga” (Japanese Painting) to be granted by the Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Fine Arts and has since come to be known worldwide for his extremely polished works blending contemporary art and traditional Japanese painting, high culture and pop culture, East and West. He has held a number of solo exhibitions at prestigious museums around the world.
While energetically pursuing his creativity as an artist, Murakami has also been active as a curator, gallerist, and producer. In recent years, in particular, he has become an avid collector, acquiring a wide variety of artworks in and out of Japan with a perceptive eye and unique aesthetic sensibility. This little known collection, while loosely focused on contemporary art, includes old Japanese and Asian artifacts, European antiques, contemporary pottery, and folk art and crafts. Murakami’s guiding concept of Superflat not only refers to formal aspects he identifies with Japanese art, such as flatness of the picture plane and decorativeness, but also extends to a view of art that rejects hierarchical divisions between different artistic genres or eras and frees artistic activities from definitional boundaries. It is a dynamic, expansive concept that applies to the entirety of the artist’s life and activity as he wrestles with the big question, “What is art?” from various angles.
This exhibition of Murakami’s unique collection, with its overwhelming quantity and diversity, will provide an insight into the sources of the artist’s aesthetic ideas, the nature of art and desire, and the mechanisms that create value in contemporary society, while also encouraging viewers to question art’s conventional context.
1. Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010 © Anselm Kiefer. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo by Charles Duprat
2. Yoshitomo NARA, “Light My Fire” 2001 ©Yoshitomo Nara. Courtesy of the artist
3. Soga, Shōhaku, Teika, Jakuren, and Saigyō, middle of Edo Period
4. Horst Janssen, Selbst mit Totenkopf, 1982 ©VG BILD-Kunst, Bonn & JASPAR, Tokyo 2015 C0732
5. Taisei Yoshimura, Azalea, 2012 © Taisei Yoshimura, Photo by Ichiro Mishima, Photo courtesy of ARATANIURANO, YAMAMOTO GENDAI