CROSS CUL­TURE

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty -

de­signer Mamechiyo, and in re­cent years, fresh-faced artists from Kaikai Kiki Stu­dio such as Ob and Aya Takano. A con­sid­er­ably au­da­cious move for a global brand, it turns out th­ese were a mere pre­lude to the real gam­bit. “Shu Ue­mura has ex­pressed time­less beauty in var­i­ous themes, and we like to sur­prise cus­tomers,” Uchi­ide smiles. “Well, who bet­ter than Takashi Mu­rakami with whom Shu Ue­mura might share this vi­sion?” Takashi Mu­rakami’s pro­lific body of work runs the gamut from the mor­bid and overtly sex­ual, to ir­rev­er­ent takes on cul­tural stig­mas as part of his Su­per­flat move­ment. First and fore­most a seam­less fu­sion of high art and anime ren­dered in flat planes of elec­tro pop colours, Su­per­flat also means putting his artis­tic influences (that are oth­er­wise too ex­or­bi­tant in price and out of reach for most peo­ple) on con­sumer mer­chan­dise and main­stream me­dia.

“In or­der to start a rev­o­lu­tion, I needed to make sure the brand un­der­stood the com­plex­ity of my goals,” muses Mu­rakami at our in­ter­view right af­ter the Shu Ue­mura Six Hearts Princess col­lab­o­ra­tion launch party in Shibuya, “and Shu Ue­mura un­der­stood this com­pli­cated struc­ture com­pletely. Just look at the chaos of the party they put to­gether for the col­lec­tion: I am very sat­is­fied.”

As with many of the Ja­panese pop art sen­sa­tion’s oeu­vres, ev­ery vi­brant stroke and fi­nal flour­ish comes with an un­der­ly­ing mes­sage that is much deeper than the sur­face con­text, of­ten ex­am­in­ing a com­mon theme of “chaos” and “his­tor­i­cal ex­plo­sions caused by mis­un­der­stand­ings”.

“Colour­ful colours and cute char­ac­ters are kind of a trap that I place out there in my art to lure peo­ple into pay­ing at­ten­tion to the se­ri­ous is­sues. With the themes un­der­ly­ing my art, they may be ex­pected to be ren­dered in mono­chrome, but my style is all about chaos. I like to use colour­ful colours as a con­trast,” he ex­plains.

An in­ter­na­tional phe­nom­e­non, he now counts as one of the hand­ful of Ja­panese artists

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