Shinji Murakami “:)”


poster for Shinji Murakami “:)”

This event has ended.

SHINJI MURAKAMI (born 1980, Osaka) employs 8-bit video game expression translated into two and three-dimensional works to create a world where less is more, a world where he can achieve effects of great complexity from the simplest components – a struggle central to the art of storytelling.
Murakami’s body of work speaks to the famous inventor of Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi’s theory of lateral thinking with withered technology. Withered technology refers to a mature technology that is cheap and well understood, while lateral thinking is concerned with finding radical new ways of using such technology. Murakami’s seemingly simple works materialize Yokoi’s view that the best toys and games do not require cutting edge technology; novel and fun gameplay are more important.
The 3D-8bit works use tediously hand-cut wood blocks assembled, glued and clamped to create the end forms. Refuting the idea that a simple object requires simple technique, Murakami plays with the viewer’s perception: the shiny, colorful outer layer gives the false impression that the artwork is more likely to originate from a trendy process like 3D printing, than from the artist’s manually intensive, artisan process.
Three series of 2D-8bit works, Maps, Flowers and Nipples display Murakami’s interest in both the physical and historical space around him. Maps are acrylic works on heavy wood canvases, which use Murakami’s vocabulary of symbols to depict neighborhoods around New York - Shake Shack makes an appearance next to Central Park - Tokyo, and the cosmic beyond. Flowers is a silkscreen series, also on wood, where Murakami takes the tradition of the motif and reinterprets it. From Andy Warhol to Takashi Murakami to Christopher Wool, the universal language of flowers has been explored time and again, each master finding new relevance in the subject. In a sense, flowers are a symbol of art itself and Murakami’s ongoing series of appropriated flowers acts as an 8-bit retrospective of the image. While the appropriation of works sets Murakami deep in the vernacular of Pop Art, his meticulous process assimilates him more to the likes of Constantin Brancusi than Jeff Koons. In fabulous Jungian fashion, Nipples acts as the shadow cast by Murakami’s intense focus on the colorful and adorable. Taking public domain images of celebrities’ nipples and distorting them down to their basic pixels, Murakami comments on the disorienting effect of the infinite searching, accessing and saving.
Murakami draws on a broad lexicon of art historical and pop culture references to make visually compelling objects, each unique in their narrative and evocative content. His work is included in public and private collections around the world, has been exhibited internationally at museums and institutions including the Telfair Museums, Williamsburg Arts & History Center, Dumbo Arts Center and Geisai Museum in Tokyo. In 2011, Murakami was featured in the “100 Artists to Watch” edition of Modern Painters, Art Info.



from March 07, 2014 to March 30, 2014

Opening Reception on 2014-03-07 from 18:00 to 21:00


Shinji Murakami

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