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Japan's 'Andy Warhol' of manga
By Wang Jie

PRINTS and installation works by famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami - known as Japan's Andy Warhol - is underway at Xintiandi Style Atrium through June 30.

Murakami, whose works sell at auction for astronomical sums, coined the term "superflat" to describe his style that integrates contrasting elements between Oriental tradition and Western culture.

It also contrasts refined art and pop culture, traditional Japanese painting and Japanese manga and cartoon art - while maintaining the works' ornamental and entertainment value.

He works in painting, sculpture and installation, and has crossed over into fashion, merchandising and animation.

The exhibition titled "An Intellectual Game" features 31 prints and nine installations.

They include "Jellyfish Eyes" created together with Issey Miyake, a Japanese top brand; "Flower Ball" with 3D effect that is totally different from the "Super Flat" style that he usually uses.

The works exhibited represent his thinking that art is no longer a profound creation but a product that can achieve sales targets with market strategies.

"Intellectuality is no longer an elevated art state but an aesthetic game to achieve market success," Murakami once said.

Born in 1962, Murakami became an idol for the new generation of Japanese youth and has become popular in China.

In 2002 Murakami cooperated with Marc Jacobs, design director of LV, in applying colorful elements such as little flowers, mushrooms and cherries on LV's classic monogram design. Limited edition bags with his decoration became extremely popular and he has cooperated extensively with luxury fashion.

In 2008, Murakami was selected as one of the world's 100 most influential figures by Time magazine, the only visual artist.

He developed a strategy to first establish himself in the Western art world and then import himself back to Japan, building a new type of art market in the process.

In order to create something rooted in Japanese culture and history but still fresh and valid internationally, he searched for something uniquely Japanese, focusing on "low" culture, especially manga.

Date: Through June 30, 10am-9pm

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