Fresh off of his Seattle-set group show alongside Juxtapoz, Takashi Murakami is set to open a brand new exhibition at Galerie Perrotin over the weekend. His twelfth solo show with the Parisian gallery, “Learning the Magic of Painting” will span across the gallery’s three spaces in Paris at 76 rue de Turenne and 10 impasse Saint-Claude and feature more than 40 recent and previously-unseen works, as well as pieces from the Arhats and Enso series. Murakami himself even penned his own lengthy ode to “learning the magic of painting” ahead of the exhibition’s opening:
Ever since I started studying painting at nineteen to this day, at fty-four, I have been, and still am in the middle of, learning the magic of painting.
A painting’s process of generation starts with an intent.
A painting approaches becoming a painting in the moment it transcends the intent.
A painting is no longer a painting once it becomes a painting.
Its essence is truly magical and ungraspable.
Yet when we physically stand in front of the painting among paintings, we can comprehend that it is a true painting.
A genius may easily achieve such a state.
I have humbly and respectfully examined the magical recipes of painting a handful of geniuses have left behind. They are truly brilliant, these magical recipes. But the various factors surrounding such geniuses’ lives, from their places of origin to the eras in which they lived and their social standings are so extremely different from my own that I am unable to immediately apply such recipes myself.
I would try incorporating some of the magical recipes into my brain, but they are not compatible; in fact, at times they would trigger rejections.
The spark of idea that would bring me to the magic never arrives. And so, day after day, I simply and diligently keep up with my learning and paint the product of that learning.
Yet when I look back, I realize that there remains a trace of my own magical spells even in my pictorial memos from twenty some years ago, those left in the process of such wretchedly laborious efforts, albeit somewhat difficult to discern—self-pitying and extremely deformed as they are—unlike those of the past geniuses. If I now reassemble these individual memos, they might constitute a section of a magic circle; a little bit of magic might even emerge.
Nay, perhaps this will merely turn out to be a tragedy triggered by my misconception.
Still, it will give me hope to live on.
By continuing to learn and paint the result day after day so as to leave even a faintest of trace, my hope to live my possibly tragic life, the recipe for my magic circle for painting, accumulates.
Until the moment my body expires, in the near future, I wish to continue perfecting my magic circle that may summon the magic, to understand the essence of the magic of painting, and to try and complete the recipe for generating the magic of painting.
The works for this show, then, are also the records of my learning along the way. I have been working my way in earnest, but I am still far from arriving at the essence of my magic. But I believe each of the works contains some fragments of the essence—even if they turn out to be tragedies! I choose to believe so anyway.
Will I really manage to create the magic circle that can summon magic, or is everything a misconception and I am merely living a tragic life?
Whichever it may turn out to be, today, as always, I am learning the magic of painting.
“Learning the Magic of Painting” opens this Saturday, September 10, and will remain on display through December 23.