Just last week it was unveiled that Takashi Murakami would be returning to the prestigious Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles to begin his new “GYATEI²” exhibition, featuring a range of new works by the famed pop artist. Over the weekend, Murakami dedicated a variety of Instagram posts to explain much of these new pieces, showcasing the meaning behind them as well as sharing the works themselves.
Writing to his social media followers and fans, the famed artist shared a statement surrounding his Kanye Cosplay Painting:
“This is me, cosplaying as a character in Kanye West and Lil Pump’s music video for “I Love It.” 2. When I saw this video, I felt that it incorporated every single aspect of how art is appreciated and consumed, which have constantly and significantly been changing over the past 100 years. I’ve had various thoughts while working on this cosplay.”
He went on to talk about the significance of the “I Love It” music video:
”Let us discuss for a moment about Kanye West and Lil Pump’s music video for “I Love It.” The lyric expresses the stance of sticking up a middle finger at the recent tendency of ever-stricter moral policing in the American society through the #MeToo movement; its context is a pushback against the excessive imposition of moral standards and it’s therefore provocative. It talks about [a] quick f**k, fake orgasm, and a self-deprecating description of unsatisfactory sex life. Oh boy… What a lyric, and in what bizarre appearances they sing it.”
Murakami is no stranger to being a politically and socially motivated artist — often infusing sociopolitical cues in his own works and his interpretations of them. As always, the artist relishes in his iconic genre-infusing medium that incorporates traditional Japanese painting and styles, sci-fi, anime, pop culture, and more. Takashi Murakami’s “GYATEI²” incorporates a range of paintings, sculptures, films, and commercial products that showcased the artist’s signature and generation-defining style. It will be held from February 21 to April 13.
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<Kanye Cosplay Painting> 1. This is me, cosplaying as a character in Kanye West and Lil Pump’s music video for “I Love It.” 2. When I saw this video, I felt that it incorporated every single aspect of how art is appreciated and consumed, which have constantly and significantly been changing over the past 100 years. I’ve had various thoughts while working on this cosplay. 3. The answer to the question, “What is art?” may seem unalterable, yet in reality it is ever changing with time. Only a handful of iconic artists and their works survive each era to be remembered, and knowing only about such artists and works, we tend to think their universality was destined from the start; but that’s not necessarily true. While the artists live and their works are in progress, they constantly change, emerge and disappear. Whether an artist can maintain the audience’s interest over time determines whether they would become a true maestro, who ends up creating masterpieces. At the moment, masterpieces of the distant future are vying to be relevant on social media, and we are entering a new phase where this is creating the distortion in the essence of values. 4. By the way, I have been obsessed with Instagram for the past several years. From morning to night, I am looking at other people’s timelines and posting things myself; I color correct my photos and search the accounts of those I need to acknowledge and tag, sometimes taking up to two hours just to make one post. And what I consider the most important on Instagram is gossip, including fake news, paparazzi, as well as silly scandals and stories about celebrities, film and music industries, game culture, and fashion industry. There are people and pages discussing serious topics such as economic and political situations necessary for surviving in this world, how to make the world a better place, or the meaning of war and peace, but I pay little attention to those. Rather than getting upset about the fake news, I find the essence of human life, the center of its pointless, empty space, in Instagram. ? Continue…
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The title of this work is “Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.” The title of this painting series is Lots, Lots of Kaikai and Kiki. Kaikai Kiki is the name of the company I run, and it comes from the phrase “kaikai kiki,” which was used to praise artist Kanō Eitoku. Kano School, a group of painters particularly skilled in architectural and decorative arts, rose around 500 years ago and thrived for over 400 years. Eitoku was one of the founders and arguably one of the most talented in the history of the group. One of his followers used the phrase, which meant “so outlandish it goes beyond supreme beauty,” to praise this master. So I used this phrase for my company name in the hope of establishing a similar group of creators of beauty, and the white Kaikai and the pink Kiki are the characters embodying the phrase. Their various moods and emotions all reflect the facial expressions of people working at this company; as I draw these characters, I find myself inevitably empathizing with them. And it was in Professor Nobuo Tsuji’s book, Lineage of Eccentrics, that I learned the phrase “kaikai kiki”.