CHICAGO, IL.-Thousands of Japanese animestyle bright green eyes peek out from the wall in Pucks Café at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago. Internationally renowned Japanese artist, Takashi Murakamis colorful wallpaper, Jellyfish Eyes, has a hypnotic and visually distorting effect. The large 116 foot wide and 24foot high installation is on view January 13, 2007 to January 2008.
Based in Tokyo and New York, Murakami is one of the most significant and prolific Japanese artists of his generation. From massive paintings on canvas and screen print graphics to figurative sculptures, giant inflatable balloons, and consumer products such as plush dolls, Tshirts, and Louis Vuitton handbag designs, Murakami blurs the distinction between fine and commercial art and is greatly influenced by Japanese pop culture, cartoons, and anime.
Jellyfish Eyes exemplifies Murakamis superflat concept which suggests that contemporary Japanese art flattens and compresses together graphic design, pop culture, and high art. Murakami states that Japanese visual art, animation, graphic design, and fashion are all linked by an interest in flatness stretching from the 18th century wood block print artist Hokusai to the post World War II rise of the Japanese cartoon culture. The bold colors and flat design on the wallpaper borrows from the superflat world with its lack of depth or perspective and fuses with the big eye motif inspired by Japanese manga characters and popular animation art. Murakami has been internationally influential through his curatorial projects, artworks, and mass produced items at his popular Kaikai Kiki studio.
Murakami was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1962. He received his BFA (1986), MFA (1998), and PhD (1993) from the National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo. This project from the MCA Collection is organized by MCA Assistant Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm.