Takashi Murakami, ‘Jellyfish Eyes - Pink 2’, Martin Lawrence Galleries

Murakami's "eye" motif ranks with DOB, flowers and mushrooms as one his most repeated. In Japanese mythology, there is a character known as "Hyakume" (Hundred Eyes) who is a guardian of shrines. Hyakume only comes out at night because the sun is too bright for him. Like the otoroshi, he guards shrines from thieves. When he met a thief, one of his eyes would leave his body and endlessly pursue the thief until it made contact and branded the transgressor. Thereafter, the thief always had the eye as a mark that he was a thief. Variation after variation of "superflat" cartoon eyes, separated from their living bodies (or from Hyakume?) parade through Murakami's art, perhaps continually assessing the viewer as "thief" or "not-thief"? This makes Murakami's eyes an exceptionally piquant choice for the Vuitton "Eye Love" campaign! Think of the thousands of bags out there branding their owners with the eye of Hyakume :)

Image rights: Martin Lawrence Galleries

About Takashi Murakami

One of the most acclaimed artists to emerge from postwar Asia, Takashi Murakami—“the Warhol of Japan”—is known for his contemporary Pop synthesis of fine art and popular culture, particularly his use of a boldly graphic and colorful anime and manga cartoon style. Murakami became famous in the 1990s for his “Superflat” theory and for organizing the paradigmatic exhibition of that title, which linked the origins of contemporary Japanese visual culture to historical Japanese art. His output includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, animations, and collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton. “Japanese people accept that art and commerce will be blended; and in fact, they are surprised by the rigid and pretentious Western hierarchy of “high art’,” Murakami says. “In the West, it certainly is dangerous to blend the two because people will throw all sorts of stones. But that’s okay—I’m ready with my hard hat.”

Japanese, b. 1962, Tokyo, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan