The brilliant multipanel works on view at the Albright-Knox exemplify Takashi Murakami’s signature mixture of traditional aesthetics and Japanese pop culture.
His is a world populated by cast of stylized figures who are at once playful and menacing; one bear-like creature beams a rainbow smile while another looms over us with a grim, toothy expression of exasperation. Murakami is known for developing the Superflat style, which is inspired in part by the formal flatness characteristic of traditional Japanese paintings and contemporary Japanese anime illustrations alike.
His highly visually stimulating works contain a seemingly endless series of equally weighted, perfectly rendered focal areas that pull and bounce our eyes from one area of a composition to another. From his incredible characters to his signature animated flowers, even the smallest detail compels our attention and immerses us in narrative.
These characteristics are heightened in the installation he designed for the Albright-Knox: a monumental series of paintings, totaling more than 150 feet, one of the most ambitious the artist has ever created. Together, these works, which are debuting for the first time in their entirety here in Buffalo, literally envelop us in parallel arenas of riotous color and fields of gold.