Takashi Murakami, ‘Me and Kaikai and Kiki’, 2010, Martin Lawrence Galleries

Kaikai and Kiki are Kaikai Kiki Ltd's mascots. “These two figures are spiritual guardians: Kaikai, white with big ears, and Kiki, pink with three eyes and more daunting than Kaikai. On the ears of the two figures can be seen the symbols of these two names in Japanese characters, names which are at the centre of Murakami’s aesthetic universe. In fact, “Kaikai Kiki” is a Japanese word describing the works of Kano Eitoku, a 16th century painter. This not very well-known artist created a body of work based on the essential aesthetic approach that can be summed up in the idea that the bizarre and the refined go together, or the grotesque and sensitive are closely linked (again, think yin-yang). This is the opportunity to introduce another essential concept in Murakami’s work: the idea of “kawai”, the idea of “cute”. This does not refer to a peaceful world but to a refined world populated by the figures of Murakami.” – notes from Murakami Versailles 2010 exhibition, France.

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

Solo Shows

2018
Central, Hong Kong,
Takashi Murakami: Change the Rule!
2010
Rome,
Takashi Murakami