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“DOB in Pure White Robe (Navy and Vermilion Ears)” features Murakami’s iconic character, Mr. DOB, a hybrid cartoon figure, which is partially based on a stylized portrait of the artist himself. DOB is an abbreviation for “why,” reflecting Murakami’s critical attitude towards the emptiness of consumer society. The image’s flatness references traditional Japanese painting and links his work to the two-dimensional character of much contemporary media imagery and computer graphics. By drawing together Western styles, contemporary media and the subculture of otaku (itself derived from the introduction of American comics), Murakami is able to reflect on a variety of issues, such as the impact of technology and globalization, and their effect on national and individual identity.
Published by Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., Tokyo
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Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b. 1962) is internationally renowned for his playful negotiation of various artistic styles and traditions. Often combining Nihonga, a 19th-century Japanese painting style, with contemporary manga and Japanese pop culture, Murakami’s work is underpinned by a sharp wit. Drawing on his keen awareness of art history and contemporary visual culture, Murakami engages in a layered evaluation on consumer practices and contemporary life. Murakami coined the term “Superflat” to describe the cultural commentary and aesthetic preferences characteristic of his work and other contemporary Japanese art. Murakami is also the founder and President of the art management corporation, Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd.