The work of prolific Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has been called “cute,” “psychedelic,” “satirical” and “controversial,” amongst other things. His pieces mix Pop, anime and otaku culture with religious symbolism and vibrant colour – a style that has scored collaborations with the likes of Kanye, Pharrell and Louis Vuitton.
Currently, the artist has two exhibitions running in Tokyo. The Mori Art Museum’s “The 500 Arhats” is Murakami’s first major solo exhibition in Japan in 14 years. Fifty works are on display, including paintings, sculptures and videos. The undisputed highlight is a 100-metre installation that depicts Buddha’s 500 enlightened followers in a mesmerising psychedelic melange of bulging eyes and toothless grins.
Over at Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Murakami fans can take in the “Ensō” pop-up exhibition. The “Ensō” series explores the Zen Buddhist teaching of the same name, which encompasses themes of emptiness, unity and infinity. The exhibit is comprised of 18 unique renditions of the traditional circle motif, reinterpreted through Murakami’s modern lens and materials.
Those who can’t make the trip to Tokyo can get a peek inside the spectacular exhibits above.