Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Tomoharu Murakami. This will be Murakami’s debut solo show with the gallery, and his first in Los Angeles in nearly a quarter century.
After encountering American Abstract Expressionism at the Guggenheim International Award Exhibition in 1964, Murakami distanced himself from the traditional Japanese painting techniques he had been practicing. Instead, he embarked on a new approach—one focused on a meditative, meticulous process of building up and breaking down nearly monochrome pieces over the course of months or years. Murakami has since concentrated on using subtle, unexpected variations of this technique to create richly textured paintings, works on paper, and prints that double as records of his dedication to a higher ideal. Since converting to Catholicism, his life in Tokyo has consisted entirely of working, sleeping, eating, and praying. His intense dedication to his practice therefore takes on a spiritual dimension. Through his exhausting physical and mental process, Murakami negates his own individuality to connect viewers to, in his words, “the profound.”
His paintings consist of a mixture of Japanese pigments and oil paints—almost exclusively jet blacks and reds—mixed with charcoal powder. He applies these materials to the canvas using thousands upon thousands of delicate knife strokes. The works eventually evolve from a basic black underlayer to a complex topography of chromatic and gestural nuance. These labor intensive works made over long durations of time are drastically different from modern art based on self-expression. They are instead products of self-less acts akin to prayer that approach “eternity” and “unselfconsciousness.” These works are marked with a process in which man devotes his life to the attainment of a sublime spirit.
The exhibition will include Murakami’s iconic black textured paintings, works on paper and a series of ten drypoint etchings titled, Psalm (1978). Also, on view will be, Stations of the Cross (1990), a set of fourteen prints created deliberately from two stones.
Tomoharu Murakami was born in 1938 in Fukushima, Japan. He earned a BFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1961. He has exhibited extensively in Japan and internationally in the succeeding years, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the New Museum, New York; the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, California; the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Murakami lives and works in Tokyo.