11.10.2010

Popping Out in Versailles

Japanese contemporary pop artist, Takashi Murakami is shaking things up in France, specifically at the Château of Versailles. Since September, Takashi has been displaying 22 of his wild and vibrant sculptures in Versailles and will continue to do so until December 12th. Takashi has been called the Japanese Andy Warhol, as they both have taken inspiration form pop culture and have managed to capitalize on selling their art to the mainstream. Murakami designed brightly colored Louis Vuitton handbags in 2003 and has had his art translated into everything from toy figurines to cell phone straps. Murakami is largely influenced by  anime and manga and the accessibility of the public being able to own pieces of his art has drawn a much larger and younger crowd, making him widely popular. Undoubtedly, Takashi's work stands out amongst the French baroque design and the history of the Palace of Versailles walls. It comes as no surprise that this exhibit is causing quite an uproar amongst some of the French, as they believe that his work is a disgrace to the Palace. It is evident that Murakami means no disrespect to the French from his words to the BBC, "He describes his retrospective at Versailles as an opportunity to interpret the story of the Versailles through Japanese eyes, calling it a fantastic tale coming from a very distant kingdom. The palace is one of the greatest symbols of Western history. It is the emblem of an ambition for elegance, sophistication and art that most of us can only dream of."

"Mister Pointy" or "Tongari-Kun" in the Hercules Salon


  "Flower Matango" in the Hall of Mirrors

I remember learning about the the Grand Galerie or the Hall of Mirrors in a History of Interiors class and wanting so badly to go there. Now that this fantastic sculpture has taken center stage there, my urge to go is killing me!

"Kawai - Vacances Summer Vacation in the Kingdom of the Golden"

How can you be sad in a room like this? I feel like Marie Antoinette would have actually really enjoyed seeing the Palace transformed into this funky wonderland.
"Kiki" in the Venus Salon

"Kaikai" in the Venus Salon 

The sculpture of Louis XIV is sandwiched by sculptures of spear-holding sculptures, Kiki and KaiKai.
 
"Oval Buddha" in the Gardens

I understand that Murakami's wild contemporary flavor is not for everyone but personally, I love seeing the contrast between contemporary art and such historical elegance. There is something adventurous and comical about the way Murakami's sculptures boldly stand out against classical paintings and gold-leafed walls.

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