Takashi Murakami Has Covered Practically Every Square Inch of a New Hong Kong Art Center With His Colorful Work. See the Show Here

The exhibition includes very weird mannequins of the artist.

Kate Brown, August 22, 2019

Takashi Murkamai at "Murakami versus Murakami" at Tai Kwun. Photograph: Alex Maeland.

Takashi Murkamai at "Murakami versus Murakami" at Tai Kwun. Photograph: Alex Maeland.

Takashi Murakami‘s tripped-out universe has touched down in Hong Kong.

The 57-year-old artist’s mix of fashion, graphic art, cosplay, and graffiti is spread across every crevice of the three floors of the new Tai Kwun Contemporary. The show, titled “Murakami versus Murakami,” leaves no small part of his career unexplored and no surface of the exhibition space untouched as it examines the different aspects of the Murakami brand.

The show is on view through September 1 in the swank new institution, housed in a former Central Police Station complex, that was redesigned by Herzog & de Meuron at the cost of HK$3.8 billion. The center officially opened last May as non-collecting, non-profit organization modeled on Europe’s kunsthalles.

“Tobias [Berger] requested I make chaos, Murakami says in a preview video for the exhibition, referring to the co-curator and the head of arts at Tai Kwun. Indeed, the show is anchored in Murakami’s maximal aesthetic and his carefully controlled pandemonium of colors, shapes, and hyper-intense layering. Berger suggests that it is the most ambitious solo show by a contemporary artist to take place in Hong Kong.

Installation view, which includes  The Birth Cry of a Universe  (center right), (2005–19). © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view, which includes The Birth Cry of a Universe (center right), (2005–19). © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

The show, which presents some 60 paintings and sculptures, includes gold and white ensō paintings, which reference a Zen Buddhist painting practice, that are hung in a room painted entirely gold. Outside, there are hundreds of pairs of blue slippers, waiting for visitors to step into before they can enter. At the opening in June, the only person who could walk in his own shoes was Murakami, who had silver footwear that were wiped down beforehand.

Elsewhere, the artist’s sci-fi scenographic paintings and drawings tower over viewers. Yet the show does not stop there. Pieces from the artist’s personal collection are also included, as well as his zanny costume designs, which are draped over mannequins made in his likeness. Basically, it is a room full of Murakamis in glass boxes who look like they’re shouting at you.

“Murakami versus Murakami” is on view through September 1 at the Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts, located at 10 Hollywood Rd, Central in Hong Kong. 

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.

Installation view of “Murakami versus Murakami.” © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Kitmin Lee.