Saturday, September 18, 2010

Murakami Takes Versailles

It was not a hostile takeover, more of collaboration, but the famed artist Takashi Murakami has installed an exhibition in the most unlikely place, the Chateau du Versailles. Murakami’s anime inspired artwork has graced similar unlikely places such as Louis Vuitton’s uber-luxurious handbags in a limited edition line back in 2007. Murakami makes a bold statement in the mixing of very different styles, Western elegance and sophistication and the Far East’s pop culture phenomena.  His sculptures fill 15 rooms in the chateau Marie Antoinette once ruled. The exhibition opened this week and will remain until December 12, 2010. 
According to the Chateau Versailles website, Mr Murakami had this to say about his newest exhibition:

“For a Japanese like me, the Château de Versailles 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.
Of course, we are aware that the spark that set fire to the powder of the Revolution came directly from the centre of the building.

But, in many respects, everything is transmitted to us as a fantastic tale coming from a very distant kingdom. Just as French people can find it hard to recreate in their minds an accurate image of the Samurai period, the history of this palace has become diminished for us in reality.

So it is probable that the Versailles of my imagination corresponds to an exaggeration and a transformation in my mind so that it has become a kind of completely separate and unreal world. That is what I have tried to depict in this exhibition.

I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château.

With a broad smile I invite you all to discover the wonderland of Versailles.”

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