Musée en Herbe / Paris
Chiho
Aoshima
Takashi
Murakami
Aya
Takano
 
<a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>Sylvie Girardet</b><br> Founder and artistic director of the <br/> Musée en Herbe
 
Since 1975, the Musée en Herbe has presented exhibitions, workshops, and games on a wide range of artistic, scientific, or civic themes, to audiences ranging in age from 3 to 103. “Monsters, Manga, and Murakami: A Monstrous Show,” the final exhibition of the 2018 season devoted to the exploration of Japanese culture, included several works on loan from the Pinault Collection.


<span class="alinea"></span>Contemporary Japanese art is fed by multiple cultures and influences. Grounded in its ancient traditions, it also reckons with the culture of manga, cartoons, and video games. The breadth and variety of manga culture, its codes, its surprising characters—often burlesque, at times terrifying <i>(koweii)</i> or cute <i>(kawaii)</i>—have influenced the work of numerous contemporary artists. Takashi Murakami, and the members of his collective Kaikai Kiki, clearly claim this heritage. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The works on loan from the Pinault Collection embodied the different themes of the exhibition. Visitors were greeted by Murakami’s <i>Yume Lion (The Dream Lion)</i>, who, despite his imposing stature, is not very intimidating; on the contrary, he seems rather cute and sweet, with his bushy mane and round eyes. Surrounded by Murakami’s multicolored flowers, he stands guard, face to face with <i>Leo the Lion</i>, Osamu Tezuka’s anime. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>But Murakami’s Inochi, a human-scale child-robot, and his small clones are more disturbing, with their huge skulls, wide-set eyes, tiny mouths and noses, and large ears. Presented alongside <i>Astro Boy</i> and <i>Goldorak</i>, their strange presence permeates throughout the second part of the exhibition, devoted to robots. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>In a third, monster-filled section of the exhibition, we meet <i>yōkai</i>, the supernatural ghosts, spirits, and demons of Japanese folklore. It includes several members of Murakami’s cast of characters, among them his alter ego, Mr. Dob, and the Kaikai Kiki, the more or less amicable guardians of his work. The exhibition concludes with a selection of more serious works, reflecting the impact of the natural catastrophes that regularly take place in Japan. We explore the universe of Japanese ghosts with Chiho Aoshima (<i>Sublime Grave Dweller Shinko</i>, 2014), then dive into an imaginary aquatic world, ruled by an imposing queen with large eyes, inspired by manga characters of <i>Aya Takano’s Queen of the Continent of Mû</i>. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>A number of works on loan from other collectors and galleries round out this selection, including traditional engravings and masks of monsters of Japanese legend—the terrifying kappa, for example—from the collections of the Musée du Quai Branly. Nearby are pages from manga by Shigeru Mizuki, Osamu Tezuka, and Hayao Miyazaki, the master of anime. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>During this interactive monster hunt, children and adults alike embarked on an exploration of Japanese culture and discovered a surprising body of works of contemporary art. The Musée en Herbe focuses first on the experience of children with a treasure hunt, workshops, and story times under the blossoming cherry trees. <br/> <br/>
Opening page: <br/> Takashi MURAKAMI <br/> <i>Yume Lion [The Dream Lion]</i>, 2009 <br/>  — <br/> Aluminum, bronze, steel, and Corian base <br/> 191 × 127 × 110 cm

Takashi MURAKAMI <br/> <i>Inochi Poster (Classroom)</i>, 2004 <br/>  — <br/> Inkjet print <br/> 178 × 145,5 cm
Takashi MURAKAMI <br/> <i>Inochi Poster (Trees in Bloom)</i>, 2004 <br/>  — <br/> Inkjet print <br/> 178 × 145,5 cm
Aya TAKANO <br/> <i>Queen of the Continent of Mu</i>, 2004 <br/>  — <br/> Acrylic on canvas, diptych <br/> 218,2 × 582 cm
 

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