I discovered a Japanese artist in Doha, Qatar, of all places: Murakami Ego. The artist is incredibly well known but you also have to be interested in and follow his style of art, which is well, in a class of its own.
The exhibition is being held at Doha's Al Riwaq Gallery. Upon entering, you are met with a massive, colorful 6 meter high colorful statue of the man himself -- the overall presentation depicts the portrait of the artist as a cartoon, illuminating his role as a cipher and critic of pop phenomena, as well as a mirror of global networks of consumerism, interpretation and exchange.
The exhibit itself pays close attention to the diverse strands of contemporary culture and art history that inform Murakami's paintings and sculptures, while also highlighting the joyful and obsessive qualities of his work.
Some of the artist's most celebrated series are amongst the pieces, including 'kaikai kiki lots of faces' and 'pom and me,' which on this occasion are presented in their entirety for the first time. for 'Murakami -- Ego' the artist has conceived the entire exhibition as a work of art in itself, developing new modes of displays including sculptural pedestals with digital animation, a circus tent that doubles as an indoor cinema, and a new 100-meter-long painting that wraps around the exhibition space.
It's mind blowing to say the least. As you enter of course, despite the larger than life Murakami greeting you, you don't quite realize the supernatural world you're about to enter. The man is so much about bright vivid colors that its hard to imagine that there's anything other than a child living inside his mind, one that has no negative or bad emotions, memories or images.
Everything is a splash of paint, brightly colored paint -- reds, yellows, oranges, pinks and purples. To say his style is larger than life is an understatement.
Below is the lobby/foyer area alone in and around the six foot Murakami "doll," so you're in for a whole lotta fun and larger than life vibrant color before you even start to sample his work.
"He's dark," my friends tell me, who are escorting me to the exhibit...their second time. I didn't "get" the "dark" in the first couple of rooms - it took me awhile to absorb the sadness, the crassness, the sorrow and the anger amidst all the smiling happy faces; broken dreams and hopes of a warped human psychy woven in and out and through the painted faces.
It was about here that things started to get dark for me, yet as dark as he is and as deep as he takes you, regardless of whether you like his style or not, you can't help but be fascinated and amazed again and again. The size, the intricacy and the level of detail he includes in his work is absorbing and monumental. Have a look...
Photo credits by the following as we were not allowed to "shoot" in the exhibit: Chika Okazumi, Gion and Guillaume Ziccarelli.
Photo credits of inside and around foyer area: Renee Blodgett.
Check out an interesting post on the Arab Modern Museum of Art and on the Cai Guo Qiang exhibit in Doha. For more in Doha and Qatar in general, visit the Qatar section. For more on arts, go here.