Takashi Murakami Reveals Inspiration Behind BAKA Show After Typhoon Floods His Studio

Written by: Stephen Lemieux –  October 13th, 2019 11:58pm PT

Takashi Murakami has revealed the inspiration behind his upcoming art show in the midst of the national disaster hitting Japan.

Takashi Murakami, the contemporary artist widely known for creating the “Superflat” postmodern art movement is currently preparing his 2019 Art show BAKA that is being presented in Paris this Wednesday. Amidst the release, however, Japan is experiencing the strongest Typhoon in recorded history. Typhoon Hagibis has 150 MPH winds and rain, bringing severe flash flooding and dangerous debris to many parts of Japan.

Murakami recently took to social media to show his Japan-based studio has been flooded; but also to explain the creative inspiration behind his most recent “BAKA” show. 

“’Baka’ means “idiot” in English, but its etymology is said to be the ancient Chinese story “Calling a Deer a Horse, found in Shiji (The Records of the Grand Historian), in which Zhao Gao of Qin presented a deer to the Second Emperor and called it a horse.” Murakami wrote, “The act of taking advantage of one’s ascendancy and insisting on a contradictory claim thereafter came to be referred to as ‘baka’ (horse deer.). 

He added, ‘in any case, I have created a creature that is both a horse and a deer and placed it in the center of this painting This piece, with the word “baka” in the background, is an uipdated version of the painting I made when I was 48, based on the graphics intended to give a middle finger to Japanese art magazines and critics.”

Murakami is known for his collaborative works with mainstream celebrities Kid Cudi, Ben Baller, and Kanye West (previously having worked with Kanye on the cover of ‘Graduation’), 

He went on to explain his reasoning behind the BAKA art show, comparing it to the Japanese art scene of 20 years ago. 

“How are we ever to cultivate artists who can create strong work? Like sports science or like a devotee of Zen training alone in the mountains, we need discipline. We must become aware of our faults, learn temperance, and know our place within society. Despite this, the Japanese art scene is composed of lenience, irresponsibility, and unstudied ignorance; it’s a hotbed of people who remain in a state of idiocy,” said Murakami, referencing a column in Bijutsu Techo from nearly a decade ago. “If we are idiots, then we must accept that and decide how we will deal with it, and yet, when I think of how art students today are getting their information, the only thing that comes to mind are the small columns like this one in Bijutsu Techo.”

He says nowadays he is less interested in criticism of the Japanese art scene.

“Already 10 years have passed since [writing that column],” shared Murakami, saying the Japanese art scene has since been shattered. “I no longer have any urge to even chide the Japanese art scene.”

He finishes by bringing it back to the focus of his BAKA show.

“Outside the studio, we are in the middle of Typhoon No. 19, or Hagibis, the largest storm ever recorded by the Meteorlogical Agency,” said Murakami. “I just hope our studio’s roofs will hold. With a wishful thinking that this Baka, the Yōkai-like creature I dreamed up, would answer my prayer and sublimate my chiding above, I painted it here.”

Takashi Murakami’s BAKA exhibit will be on view at the Galerie Perrotin from October 16th to December 21st in Paris.

About The Author:

Stephen Lemieux is the executive producer of Maria Menounos’ digital networks AfterBuzz TV, Black Hollywood Live, Popcorn Talk, and Book Circle Online. He’s also the produce of Better Together with Maria, a podcast hosted by Maria Menounos with the goal of self-betterment in all areas of life.

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