This September, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art will present Takashi Murakami’s first major survey in Russia. Under the Radiation Falls will feature new works and span several periods of the artist’s career from the mid-1990s to now. Presenting his work in the broader context of Japanese culture for the first time, the exhibition pays homage to Murakami’s long-term project to creatively unite and question Eastern and Western traditions. The show consists of five sections that each explore a particular phenomenon which has been formally or semantically examined by Murakami:
The first section, Geijutsu (Learning and Technique), will focus on the genealogy of Murakami’s paintings and his ideas regarding pictorial space and the artist’s craft. Having trained as a classical Nihonga painter, Murakami creates art partly rooted in traditional Japanese painting, which is characterized by a certain flatness of image. This section also introduces a theme that will recur throughout the exhibition: the importance of daily routine and traditional labor.
Next, The Little Boy and the Fat Man, is a tribute to Murakami’s project Little Boy (2005), which explored the symbolism of August 1945 and the ways in which the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings transformed Japanese visual culture. This part of the exhibition will focus on visual correlations between the works of Murakami, anime, manga, and historical documentation.
The third section, Kawaii (Cuteness), will explore the intersections between Murakami’s work and the aesthetics of kawaii, an integral part of contemporary Japanese sensibility, while the fourth section, Sutajito (Studio), will examine the infrastructure around Murakami’s practice. The exhibition will include a recreation of part of his “factory,” where the artist’s assistants will work during the installation of the exhibition, and which will be left for audiences to explore for the duration of the show.
The “phantom chapter,” Asobi & Kazari (Play and Ornament), will spread across the Museum’s non-exhibition spaces, demonstrating the playful aspect of Murakami’s work and his interest in decoration and patterns, rooted in Japanese artistic tradition. This will create a transition from the exhibition to the world of Kaikai Kiki (the art production and art management corporation he founded in 2001), which will occupy the Café and Bookshop and continue onto the facade of the building.
Under the Radiation Falls has been developed in close collaboration with Murakami and his studio. It includes more than eighty paintings, drawings, and films by Murakami from the collections of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; and private collections. The exhibition also includes traditional Japanese engravings and paintings from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, examples of manga and anime, and various artifacts from Murakami's studio.
A Russian-language catalog will be published on the occasion of the exhibition, the first comprehensive publication on the artist in Russian.
The exhibition is curated by Katya Inozemtseva, Garage Senior Curator.
Takashi Murakami's exhibition Under the Radiation Falls will take place as part of The Year of Japan in Russia.