Takashi Murakami: Understanding the New Cognitive Domain
Gagosian Gallery – June 10 to Dec 22, 2023, Le Bourget Paris (France)
Gagosian is pleased to announce Understanding the New Cognitive Domain, an exhibition of work by Takashi Murakami at the gallery in Le Bourget, focused on his monumental paintings. The exhibition features five such works plus others in smaller formats and several sculptures. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery in France.
Understanding the New Cognitive Domain marks the debut of a monumental new 5-by-23-meter painting by Murakami based on the iwai-maku, or stage curtain, that he produced for the Kabuki-za theater in Ginza, Tokyo, in celebration of Japanese Kabuki actor and producer Ichikawa Ebizō XI’s assumption of the name Ichikawa Danjūrō XIII, Hakuen. (Kabuki stage names, which specify an actor’s style and lineage, are passed down through generations; the Ichikawa family has a roughly 350-year history.) The November 2022 unveiling of Murakami’s design, which was commissioned by film director Takashi Miike, coincided with the first performance of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII in the November Kichirei Kaomise Grand Kabuki Theaterprogram.
Indigo Blue (2010).
Also on view is another extended-format painting, Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue (2010), which Murakami produced in response to eccentric Japanese artist Soga Shōhaku’s Dragon and Clouds (1763). Shōhaku’s work is a multi-panel Unryūzu (cloud-and-dragon) painting in which the titular creature appears as a Buddhist symbol of optimism and good fortune. Murakami’s painting, like Shōhaku’s, uses a restricted palette and is spread over several conjoined sections. Graphic swirls allude to Shōhaku’s expressive use of ink and suggest the dragon’s flight, combining with its flared nostrils and serpentine whiskers to evoke turbulent motion. Dragon in Clouds. Indigo Blue also resonates with contemporary Japanese visual culture, particularly the video game Blue Dragon, while its vast scale revives the visceral and psychological impact of Shōhaku’s masterpiece.
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