Takashi Murakami’s latest show Change the rules! at Hong Kong’s Gagosian Gallery showcases a collection of new works that feature many of his most iconic characters and motifs.
While all mesmerizing in colour and detail, perhaps the most notable work is not one of the giant murals or sculptures of Dob or KaiKai and KiKi but the first piece that hangs to the left of the entrance. In his own words this piece is “the excuse but also the essence” of the show. The 2-panel work of the exhibition’s namesake was not originally intended but rather a result of having missed a deadline for one of the proposed pieces.
In the inscription Murakami goes in to great detail about the physical, mental and emotional suffering connected to his process. He gives us a window to see in to his connection between the external influences and the paradigm of human condition within artistic creation. Most poignant is the sense of vulnerability he conveys when he touches on death and impermanence.
From his earliest work on the subject – Tan Tan Bo Puking (2002) he began “producing paintings as a prescribed method of alleviating such fear.” And his latest manifestation (Tan Tan Bo a.ka. Gerotan: Having vomited five viscera and six bowels along with a lump of ego, he swallows them back in to his empty stomach as everything disperses into the void; along the process he starts his journey in to mediation., 2018) sees a marked change in sentiment. On the one hand the looming frailty of physical and mental limitations appears more imminent but we see a deeper spiritual aspect from its predecessors that is suggestive of his desire to transcend his “fear of physical pain and mental suffering in the process of approaching death”.
Understanding Murakami’s process invokes a deeper appreciation for what is often considered ‘cute’ and ‘joyful’ on the surface. The common stigma that being commercially successful means deviating from one’s true artistic nature grossly undermines the lengths to which Murakami has dedicated himself to his craft and this is ever evident in his latest show.
Sept. 20th – Nov. 10th | Gagosian | 7/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central | +852 2151 0555 | gagosian.com