Fun with fungus
Japanese painter Takashi Murakami follows up a manga-inspired show with "Mushrooms," happy, trippy, joyful mushrooms that is, until you arrive at a small side room with a surprise in it.
By ROBIN EISGRAU
Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has a commanding grasp of whimsy. His
previous exhibit at this gallery featured balloonlike creatures
stylistically inspired by manga and anime. His current show, called
"Mushroom," goes for a more traditional two-dimensional format yet is still a
visit to the dwelling place of a very fertile imagination.
In the first large room, canvases are covered in silver-grey hues that
serve as backgrounds for organic cartoon creatures: wild mushrooms that look
like something cooked up on the sly at the Sanrio laboratory. They're cute
and childlike but have an air of subversion to them (one could only imagine
what you'd see if you dared to ingest one). One group of canvases that
covers an entire wall, mural-like, features a giant mushroom with dozens of
eyes surrounded by groups of similar Liliputian technicolor fungi. These
mushrooms are just screaming to be put on a T-shirt or backpack. On an
opposite wall is another silver-grey canvas but this one has winding vines
on which have grown multicolor flowers with extremely happy faces. The
patterns formed by these flowers echo textile design.|
In contrast to the happy happy joy joy aura of these paintings, a small
room has two canvases, one red and one blue, serving as backdrops to shadowy
skeletal forms, perhaps hinting that there is a dark side to all the
merriment present in the mushroom and flower images. They suggest that other
kind of mushroom the mushroom cloud, one of the most horrifying symbols
to the Japanese.
Near the entrance is
a room where diagrams of the paintings are on the wall and there are comfy
white couches for taking a breather from all the psychedelia.
|APRIL 13, 2001|
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