Didem Doğan

Takashi Murakami in Mori Modern Art Museum

Our next stop is Mori Museum which is in walking distance from the National Art Center. This museum is in an upscale district and located on the top floor of Mori Tower. The person after which it is named, Mori Minoru, was apparently a real estate tycoon and one of the wealthiest businessmen of the world, who played an important part in the construction and development of the Rappongi district into its present state. We visited a very interesting exhibition here: the exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashima Murakami called ‘500 Arhat.’ One of the few contemporary artist of Japan to gain international celebrity, Murakami (yes, he has the same surname as the writer, Murakami) is a painter and sculptor who finds his inspiration in manga and anime, the Japanese art of caricature. This grand-scale work by him is very ambitious, it would have been impossible to make such a big work by himself in such a short time: he worked together with many other artists in a workshop system. Arhat means a person who attained nirvana in Japanese. His work is centered on a saviour figure for Japan which suffered various catastrophes, earthquakes, wars, and fires. There are hundreds of characters depicted in these paintings: blue dragon, white tiger, black tortoise, crimson bird… Some critics named this work Murakami’ s Guernica, referring to the work by Pablo Picasso, and interpreted it as a response of art to a nation’s tragedy. We are watching with admiration this work created by an amazing imagination and effort.