Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats

Exhibition Period: Saturday, October 31, 2015 - Sunday, March 6, 2016
Organizer: Mori Art Museum
Curators: Miki Akiko (Guest Curator, Mori Art Museum), Nanjo Fumio (Director, Mori Art Museum)

Murakami Takashi (b. 1962) is widely known for his character-based artworks associated with 'otaku culture,' but also for a broad range of activities beyond such works. He formulated the 'Superflat' art theory, organizes the GEISAI art events, supports young artists, collaborates with musicians and corporate brands, and produces films and animations. Murakami is considered one of the most active and significant Japanese artists in the global art scene today. The planned exhibition at the Mori Art Museum is eagerly anticipated; while many large-scale exhibitions of Murakami's works have been held worldwide, including "©Murakami," which toured internationally starting with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2007), "Murakami Versailles," Palace of Versailles, France (2010) and "Murakami - Ego" in Qatar (2012), such showings in Japan have been extremely limited.
This exhibition will focus on Murakami's recent works, mainly his epic The 500 Arhats (2012), a 3-meterhigh, 100-meter-long painting of the 500 enlightened followers (arhats) of Buddha, created in response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Some large sculptural pieces and abstract paintings will also be included. The Japan premiere of Murakami's The 500 Arhats highlights the power of prayer that transcends religious differences in a dynamic vision of the intersection of finite life and the infinite nature and universe. It allows us to understand Murakami's new artistic interests and directions. This exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, through the showing of Murakami's magnum opus and other recent works, will offer an opportunity to examine the role of art and religion in facing social turmoil and human mortality. It will also allow us to approach Murakami's profound exploration of the power of art to illuminate our understanding of the human condition and the realities of the world we live in.

The 500 Arhats
Acrylic on canvas mounted on board
302 × 10,000 cm
Private collection
Installation view: "Murakami - Ego," Al Riwaq Exhibition Hall, Doha, 2012
Photo: GION
© 2012 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.