Takashi Murakami (Japanese, B. 1962)
Takashi Murakami (Japanese, B. 1962)

Tightrope Walker

Takashi Murakami (Japanese, B. 1962)
Tightrope Walker
signed 'TAKASHI' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
70 x 100 cm. (27 1/2 x 39 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2002
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, USA
Christie’s New York, Post-War and Contemporary Art Afternoon Sale , Nov 13, 2008, Lot 397
Acquired from the above by the present owner

New York, Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery, Murakami/Warhol Legends of the Twentieth Century, April-May 2008, p. 9 (illustrated).
Paris, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain; London, Serpentine Gallery, Takashi Murakami, Kaikai Kiki, November 2002-January 2003 p. 28 and 30 (illustrated).

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Lot Essay

Post-war Japanese culture historically underwent an actual flattening. Japan has also been invaded by the force of Western politics and culture, turning the flattening of democratic system and culture into a notorious and ineludibly prevalent grievance. This was the basic origins of the 'Superflat' leitmotif in Takashi Murakami's oeuvre: A flat world and a flat world view.

Influenced by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, Murakami’s ‘Superflat’ aesthetic combines historical, commercial and popular imagery, with a purpose of investigating the relation between global consumerism and art. Furthermore, extreme consumerism is his means to explore the causes underpinning the phenomena of Japanese society. The work Tightrope Walker depicts a band of super cute figures walking a tightrope. As they advance with calculated steps, they seem to be treading on thin ice, akin to the predicament of people in modern society. No matter how the arduous undertaking of tightrope walking is overcome, in the artist's rendering we all just remain pawns on a chessboard in the greater scheme of things. The charming imagery of extreme commercialization and the powerlessness of human nature underpin Murakami's exploration of the ultimate questions prevalent in contemporary Japanese society. Seemingly superficial commercial lexicon actually possesses profound expressive potential. Murakami's flawless, scientifically precise and painstaking workmanship eventually renders his works into Superflat tableaus that take on the qualities of commercial pattern design.

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