By Virginia Villari
Takashi Murakami’s solo show at Gagosian Gallery blew my mind. Mostly because I was not expecting what I saw. The artist’s well known candy world of joyful characters gave way to a multi-layered unsettling universe populated by spirits, demons and otherworldly creatures. “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” is an immersive installation that welcomes you with a huge (56 tons) replica of a sanmon, the sacred gate that in Japan gives access to the Shinto temples.
I never take pictures of artworks; I just think it’s pointless because they can never translate the experience. But this exhibition got me: I couldn’t stop photographing those massive, colorful canvases and sculptures. And the details! Each piece presented a myriad of fascinating scenes, narratives and beings inspired by Japanese mythology, Buddhism, Shintoism, Mangas as well as Western pop culture and art. Abstract Expressionism is particularly present in the large scale and immersive quality of the works.
A mystical vibe permeates the gigantic white cube of Gagosian Gallery: it feels like ancient spirits are watching us while we walk around the land of the dead, where we make sense of the universal chaos by converging the underworld and the present reality in a waterfall of glossy platinum leaf.
On view at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea until January 17th 2015.
555 W24th St., NY, NY 10011