DUBAI: World-famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s pieces are being exhibited for the first Solo exhibition in Dubai at Perrotin’s first gallery in the Middle East. “Perrotin gallery started exhibiting at Dubai Art Fair maybe 6 or 7 years ago, with the start of the pandemic Perrotin started to think about Dubai because there were more freedoms here and he spent a lot of time and step by step he started to understand how to mix with the local culture.”
Speaking exclusively to Arab News Japan, Murakami said it was his first time exhibiting in the UAE and he was excited to expand into other parts of the GCC and Middle East.
Murakami said before COVID-19 hit the world, he had plans to exhibit in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla.
“I would love to still exhibit there,” he explained. “I wanted to create a very original storyline and museum project for AlUla, and I gave them some idea and it looked like a very unique project.”
The artist said that the building was set to be a spiral, with a lot of water and greenery around it, to compare with the dry environment around it. He added that he would still love to visit and show his pieces in Saudi Arabia.
In Dubai, Murakami curated a selection of his works, including a series of sculptures themed around his character, Mr. Dob.
“I want people to understand me easily and that is why Mr. Dob and Flowers is a good fit with an introduction to me as an artist and that is why the concept is Takashi Icon Show”. He told Arab News Japan he was looking forward to coming back to the country and exhibiting more of his work “In the future I would like to come back and make a more serious and maybe experimental show with the feedback from this show.”
Dubai is the second Middle Eastern city in which he has exhibited his work. Earlier this month, Murakami showcased a large life-like statue in Qatar’s Place Vendome Mall, where visitors can get an up-close look at the larger-than-life figure of the artist.
When it came to NFTs and blockchain, Murakami said he did not understand the concept at first until his young daughter showed him the light.
During COVID-19 lockdown, he explained, his daughter asked him to go to a fireworks event. Murakami did not understand until later that she had meant an event being displayed digitally on Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing video game.
“My daughter was watching the digital fireworks and saying it was so beautiful even though it was on a small screen. In her head it must have felt real, and I realized this was amazing, it inspired me,” he said.
As such at the beginning of the year, Murakami launched an NFT project called Murakami.Flowers, which are digital interpretations of his popular flower design minted “we spent around 8 months looking for the right fabricator and then we created our NFT Original Contract so that we can release our NFT directly which is a very big advantage, and the reaction is very good and I also learned a lot form this experience.”
Murakami believes that NFT and Blockchain system is very beneficial for the artist “The Blockchain system is very helpful for me as the artists can still get the money from the secondary market, when we have experience in the art world, the artist does not benefit from the secondary market, but this is completely far away from the blockchain system”
Murakami has collaborated with many fashion brands including the iconic collaboration with Louis Vuitton when it was under the artistic direction of Marc Jacobs in the early 2000’s. The artist told Arab News Japan Marc Jacobs wanted him to give his fashion line a unique Japanese touch as the first artist from that country to collaborate with the French Luxury house.
As this was one of the first collaborations, with “Marc Jacobs telling me that they want to do something with contemporary art and Japanese, because as you know the famous LV monogram inspiration came from very old school Japanese crest, so Marc said we have to innovate it so I changed the color, but I originally gave Jacobs over 100 pieces and designs but the idea of changing the color of the monogram was approved” Murakami said.
“This collection and the one after using Animation for the younger generation was well received and understood and so people found out that this is the new way to enjoy fine art and fashion” setting the trend of fashion collaborations and making this the rage for years to come
Murakami’s works are on show alongside Canadian painter Jason Boyd Kinsella’s art in partnership with ICD Brookfield, which is hosting these showcases within its own larger premises which is walking distance from Perrotin’s new DIFC space which was inaugurated on the same day.