Takashi Murakami's sexually charged exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in London is filled with towering sculptures of erotic school girls and male and female genitalia. All of the pieces reflect Murakami's influences from comics and popular culture.
Bloomberg News interviewed Murakami at his exhibition, and the artist offered up a few choice thoughts. First of all, Murakami's provocative images don't reflect his own predilections, rather they reflect his investigation of trends in youth sexuality. Murakami says a comic book author told him that the young generations are attracted to tall, powerful women with "big heads, big hair, big breasts." The comic book writer said, "giant is really sexy."
Murakami insists that the blatant sexuality and eroticism only became a major factor in his work after he visited western galleries and museums and that the 1990's New York art scene looked "like porn."
Besides sexuality, Murakami has a vested interest in money and consumerism, many of the characters that appear in his art are merchandised by Kaikai Kiki Co., Murakami's own company. His interest in consumerism is perhaps best represented by the Murakami monogrammed Louis Vuitton bags on display in his 2007-2008 shows. He says he "love[s] business," and it seems that business loves him. Indeed, his 1998 sculpture "My Lonesome Cowboy" sold for $15.2 million at Sotheby's.
Though the prices for his art dipped in 2009, Murakami is disconcerted by what his artworks cost. Before the show, Murakami and dealer Larry Gagosian discussed prices and Murakami told Gagosian that they were "a little bit expensive." Despite the high prices his art commands, Murakami thinks his work is overpriced. When asked he said 'I think so, yes, honestly, yes."
Though his work is exorbitant prices, his expenses are high as well. Murakami employs about 200 people and lives in a small apartment. He told Bloomberg: "I cannot buy my home yet." Murakami may create a fantasy world of erotic consumerism, but he doesn't seem to live in it.
See the exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, through August 5 and watch an interview with the artist below.