Blum & Poe announces a solo exhibition of works by Takashi Murakami opening this summer on the island of Ibiza, Spain. The multifaceted exhibition consisting of paintings, sculptures, and film screenings will be held in four locations: Art Projects Ibiza, which will serve as a temporary platform for Blum & Poe, exhibition space Lune Rouge Ibiza, the Ibiza Gran Hotel, and restaurant and performance space HEART Ibiza. In this groundbreaking presentation, Murakami continues to conflate historical, contemporary, and futuristic Japanese references with myriad styles, methodologies, and forms—a practice that has canonized him as of one of the most celebrated artists of our time.
Blum & Poeʼs presentation will take place in an approximately 3,000-square-foot exhibition space created by Art Projects Ibiza, which fosters creative partnerships with artists and galleries worldwide and invites international collaborators to realize large-scale shows. It will feature a remarkable display of Murakamiʼs recent works, including abstract Kōrin paintings, flower ball paintings, and sculpture. The abstract Kōrin paintings, named for the Rinpa-school Edo painter Ogata Kōrin, layer a lexicon of symbols, combining the artistʼs interest in classical Japanese aesthetics with Abstract Expressionist tropes, manga imagery, and Buddhist symbolism. The flower ball paintings intermingle his signature style of optimistic and bright, smiling flower faces with the artistʼs trademark handmade, silkscreened, and gestural techniques. Also to be on view, Dragon Heads – Gold (2015), a gold leaf, wall-mounted sculpture, portrays an accumulation of cascading skulls overlapping and melding together, brilliantly distorting surface and depth.
Murakami's 69 Arhats Beneath the Bodhi Tree (2013), a ten-meter painting from his Arhat series, will be exhibited at Lune Rouge Ibiza, an exhibition space dedicated to the collection of Guy Laliberté, a prominent contemporary art collector and Cirque du Soleil founder. Created in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, the work depicts an ancient tale of Buddhist monks confronting death and decay, where mythical monsters and decrepit figures in traditional robes wander a psychedelic landscape. Flanking the artist's masterpiece are two large-scale red and blue demon sculptures. Titled Embodiment of "A" and Embodiment of "Um" (2014)—the first and last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet—these two sculptures stand in witness to the cycle of human karma vividly portrayed in the adjacent painting. Murakami's exhibition will inaugurate Lune Rouge Ibiza, the collection of Guy Laliberté, whose philanthropic mission is to contribute to the cultural landscape of Ibiza through a program of engaging exhibitions of established and emerging artists. Lalibertéʼs continued commitment to the island, an important home of his for over thirty years, aims at inspiring creativity and discovery through shared viewing experiences, awareness, and education.
Positioned at the entrance of Ibiza Gran Hotel, the only Five Star Grand Luxe hotel in Ibiza, Murakamiʼs colossal sculpture Oval Buddha (2007) is now on view through October 2015. Standing more than eighteen feet tall, the work is unequivocally monumental and displays a technical virtuosity in its emblematic self-portraiture and application of aluminum and platinum leaf. Activating this public space through the narrative of enlightenment and transcendence, Oval Buddha has the distinction of being included in his 2007 retrospective ©Murakami, which was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and traveled to three other museums.
On view in the outdoor entryway leading to HEART Ibiza and Casino de Ibiza will be Murakamiʼs new bronze relief sculpture, whose conglomeration of skulls and fantastical crowns introduce a contemporary iconography into an ancient vocabulary. Situated in the lobby will be Murakamiʼs intricate tondo painting, titled Sage (2014), which is stylistically related to the Arhat series. HEART Ibiza, an exciting new state-of-the-art, fine-dining restaurant and stunning performance space located adjacent to Ibiza Gran Hotel, is the brainchild of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and chefs Albert and Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fame. Exploring the intersections of food, dance, art, and music, the space will combine all sensory elements to create an experience unlike any other that will be simultaneously visual, experiential, and dynamic.
A limited engagement screening of the artist's first live-action feature film, Jellyfish Eyes (2013), will take place on Ibiza. Ten years in the making, the film utilizes both live-action and computergenerated imagery (CGI) in this coming-of-age tale about a boy in contemporary Japan confronting his countryʼs past and future after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Jellyfish Eyes, the first in a trilogy of feature films directed and produced by Murakami, debuted in April of 2013 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been screened at museums and cinemas throughout the world.