Takeshi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery Review by Maxim Northover - FAD Magazine

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Takeshi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery Review by Maxim Northover

“Isn’t this all a bit clichéd?” says one of the central characters in Takeshi Murakami’s latest video work, as they soar in an elevator high up into a space age city. I then tuned out to the rest of the dialogue to the subtitled animé that appeared to be a crowd pleaser in the Murakami exhibition; screened on a Panasonic plasma screen, a potentially interesting mode of exhibition yet apparently employed more out of necessity than any considered message.

The truth is Murakami’s characters, based on his own iconography and originally derived from the stylistics of animé, are at odds in the moving media. The bold, Popish simplicity that gave life and success to his images and designs is altogether lost in this animated feature.

Murakami maintains his decision to appropriate as closely as possible the very substance that inspired his work, and is in this attempt inverted, rather than subverted. What is visually problematic is his abandonment of the use of heavy out lines and block colours in favour of shading and three-dimensional explosions and cityscapes.

There is a difficulty accepting this work as Video art as it does not translate into the gallery. Although narrative or entertaining videos are no longer taboo, this kind of animation is better suited to a home viewing, or not at all.

The very presence of the three large lacquered billboard images around the video worked as a far more majestic reminder of what Murakami was celebrated for and was best placed at creating (or more accurately ‘directing’). His success is deserved and he would do well to keep to the iconography he has worked diligently to establish, now that it works so hard for him in return.



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