press release

From February 17 through May 31 2009, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will present the most important retrospective to date of the work of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (b. Tokyo, 1962), one of the most celebrated contemporary artists to have emerged from Asia in the last century.

Sponsored by Fundación Jesús Serra and Seguros Bilbao, and organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), this exhibition, which takes up the entire third floor of the museum, offers us a fresh new vision of this Japanese artist's groundbreaking project.

With a complete selection of over 90 works in different media such as painting, industrial design, animation and fashion, the exhibition, curated by MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, reveals this artist's personal universe: from his early works in the 1990s, in which he explored his own identity, to his large-scale sculptures created after 2000, veritable icons of this artist, and ending with his gallery of manufactured objects, his animation projects, his connection to the world of fashion, and his compelling works of recent years.

The relationship with anime (animation) and manga (comics) is central to the aesthetic conception of the artist, who made his debut in the early 1990s. Both genres are, in his own words, "representative of modern everyday life in Japan" and stem from the otaku subculture (a word used to refer to the young and reclusive, obsessed fans of such genres as anime and manga). His work is also influenced by pop culture and by certain European and American artistic movements. Consequently, Murakami's praxis brilliantly blends the bright palette of pop, the flatness of traditional Japanese art and certain elements of the Surrealist movement, where dreams played a fundamental role in the creative process.

"Throughout his career, Murakami has made his personal and artistic legacy an amalgamation of Japanese, European and American traditions that he has been able to combine in order to develop a unique aesthetic, which has generated a proliferation of distinctive images and icons," states curator Paul Schimmel.

In a space of 2,000 square meters on the museum's third floor, sculpture, painting, fashion, animation and merchandising intermingle to sketch an outline of Murakami's career laid out in a chronological overview, his work takes on a new dimension in the context of the sinuous and luminous spaces of Gehry's building.

Curator: Paul Schimmel, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

only in german

Takashi Murakami
Kurator: Paul Schimmel