STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum

from now through january 3, 2021, the mori art museum in tokyo presents six artists whose careers propelled them beyond the confines of japan, earning them international acclaim across generations. STARS: six contemporary artists from japan to the world traces the journey of yayoi kusama, lee ufan, tatsuo miyajima, takashi murakami, yoshitomo nara, and hiroshi sugimoto from their earliest to most recent works, exploring how their practices have been evaluated in the global context. STARS touches upon the artists’ pursuit of universal issues exceeding nationality and culture, traditions and aesthetics, technology and subculture — all while keeping in mind the social, cultural and economic background unique to japan.

 

designboom is in tokyo and has visited the exhibition, and highlights the show across two, in-depth articles. here, for part I, we document the contributions by yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, and hiroshi sugimoto. see part II here, looking at the exhibits of tatsuo miyajima, yoshitomo nara, and lee ufan.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

the decades of postwar economic growth in japan were punctuated by a series of national events — such as the olympics and world expo — as the country began to turn its gaze outward once more. in the art world, the period was characterized by debates on decolonization and multiculturalism, and the proliferation of new contemporary art settings, such as biennials and art fairs. fast-forward to 2020 — the is world thrown into turmoil by the COVID-19 pandemic and the vulnerability of our social and economic structures is increasingly highlighted. at this moment in history — as well as raising some fundamental questions about the essential role of art and how we define artistic success — the exhibition at mori art museum seeks to offer powerful messages suffused with inspiration for future.

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image by takayama kozo, courtesy of mori art museum, tokyo

 

 

over the course of her seventy year career, yayoi kusama has created a vast body of work across a huge range of media. her art is characterized by its expression of single-minded repetition, proliferation, and accumulation, manifesting in the recurrent motifs of polka dots, net pattern, or profusion — said to be the result of the visual and auditory hallucinations she experienced since childhood.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

the exhibition at mori art museum introduces examples of her work from her early woring period around 1960, when she was based in new york, through to revelation from heaven (B) and pink boat from 1992, which were exhibited the japan pavilion at the 45th venice biennale in 1993, as well as paintings from her latest series, my eternal soul. through these examples showing the shifts in her output from the 1960s — when she gained recognization in the new york art scene — to the 1990s — when she was newly appraised internationally — and to her most recent work, viewers can decipher the concepts and messages running through kusama’s oeuvre.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

meanwhile, works by takashi murakami in the exhibition range from the life-size sculptures miss ko² (project ko²) and hiropon from 1997, to my lonesome cowboy from 1998, both of which reflect on the peculiarities of the ‘otaku’ culture. in the center of the exhibition space is a giant demon sculpture, which — alongside a new video piece — has been created as a response to the 2011 great east japan earthquake. the exhibition also presents two massive paintings than span approximately 20 meters in length and have been produced specifically for show.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

murakami’s ‘superflat’ theory reimagines the sources of traditional japanese painting and contemporary art through visuals from anime and manga. the artist has created many characters that are reflections of obsessive japanese subcultures, including miss ko², producing sculptures with a high kitsch factor and hyper-two-dimensional paintings that represent the opposite of western perspective. his cultural theories not only dismantle hierarchies between high and low, but also offer a critical depiction of the postwar japanese psychology, establishing a uniquely japanese discourse in the context of globalizing art scene.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

finally, well versed not only in photography and contemporary art but also antiques, architecture, garden, traditional performance, and more, hiroshi sugimoto is a kind of renaissance man who embodies the files of art, science, religion and history. distrusting the existence of the world he saw around him from a very young age, sugimoto built up a vision of the essence and truth of things, the ambitious images that linger in the old layers of memory and light as something without a defined shape or form. he transforms this vision into works of art with lucid concepts and artisanal still.

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of yayoi kusama at STARS | image by takayama kozo, courtesy of mori art museum, tokyo

 

 

moving to the united states in 1970, sugimoto based himself in new york from 1974 and began working as an artist. the first work in his ‘diorama’ series, polar bear from 1976, emerged from his experience of a kind of illusion where a diorama at the american museum of natural history seemed to be alive when viewed with one eye covered. sugimoto’s oeuvre is represented in the exhibition at mori art museum by polar bear, the ‘revolution’ series, which makes its japanese debut at STARS, and his first film work, the garden of time, capturing the seasons in sumptuous detail at his ‘enoura observatory,’ which opened in 2017 and could be seen as the culmination of his creative career.

mori art museum stars
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image © designboom

 

 

see part II of designboom’s coverage of STARS: six contemporary artists from japan, spotlighting the work of tatsuo miyajima, yoshitomo nara, and lee ufan.

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image by takayama kozo, courtesy of mori art museum, tokyo

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image © designboom

STARS-exhibition-mori-art-museum-kusama-murakami-sugimoto-designboom-10X

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of takashi murakami at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of hiroshi sugimoto at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of hiroshi sugimoto at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
hiroshi sugimoto, revolution 008, caribbean, yucatan, 1990 | gelatin silver print | 238.8 ×119.4 cm
image courtesy of mori art museum 

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of hiroshi sugimoto at STARS | image © designboom

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
hiroshi sugimoto, polar bear, 1976 | gelatin silver print | 42.3 x 54.6 cm
image courtesy of mori art museum 

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
exhibition view of hiroshi sugimoto at STARS | image by takayama kozo, courtesy of mori art museum, tokyo

STARS brings together yayoi kusama, takashi murakami, hiroshi sugimoto at mori art museum
five of the six artists, except the elderly yayoi kusama, gathered at the museum in late july for a press conference prior to the exhibit’s opening
from left: takashi murakami, lee ufan, tatsuo miyajima, hiroshi sugimoto, yoshitomo nara | image via japan forward

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

exhibition title: STARS: six contemporary artists from japan to the world
organizer: mori art museum
corporate sponsors: morgan stanley, kajima corporation, obayashi corporation, mgm resorts japan, rakuten, inc., sensai, sony corporation, takenaka corporation, kinden corporation support: japan airlines
production support: delta electronics, inc., toshiba lighting & technology corporation
curated by: kataoka mami (director, mori art museum), kondo kenichi (senior curator, mori art museum), tsubaki reiko (curator, mori art museum), tokuyama hirokazu (associate curator, mori art museum), kumakura haruko (assistant curator, mori art museum), yahagi manabu (assistant curator, mori art museum)
exhibition period: july 31, 2020 – january 3, 2021
venue: mori art museum

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HIROSHI SUGIMOTO(17)

MORI ART MUSEUM(13)

TAKASHI MURAKAMI(21)

YAYOI KUSAMA(21)

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