Shiny Things

At Versailles, the house where Liselotte lived, currently an exhibition takes place: The Japanese artist Takashi MURAKAMI (Ger., Eng.) presents his works in the Sun King’s representational spaces. Two years ago he had a large exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in LosAngeles.
The confrontation of colourful Japanese Manga-inspired objects with colourful intérieurs inspired by Ancient Western mythology started disgruntled grumbling in the cultural-conservative corner, words like sacrilege were uttered. From the pictures I have seen some of MURAKAMI’s objects seem to fit in pretty well, others not so much – I wonder what Liselotte would have said? At least his pieces are a lot more fun to look at as compared to the terrible kitsch KOONS was allowed to present there 2008. And the house is still standing …


21 thoughts on “Shiny Things

  1. Leni Qinan says:

    Liselotte would have certainly loved the flowerballs and the jelly eyes at the château exhibition. These beautiful colours can cheer up the classic halls of Versailles. I love the contrast! Not so sure about Koons…

  2. I can not stand this Mr. Koons, Leni. He says of himself that his works of art are not ironical and not kitsch (text, but what I see is kitsch as kitsch can – a porcellain Michael Jackson with an ape; all this theater he did together with Ilona Staller back in the 1980s … and that’s where he belongs to, a Zombie of the 80s. It would be bearly tolerable if he’d understand all this as “ironic”. No he’s serious, a serious businessman, making good money. He could sell frozen pigs too. The same kind of windbag as Hirst.

  3. the juxtaposition is so over the top, i’m not even sure what my reaction is! i do think if i were near i’d go and see the exhibit just for the experience of the new new thing in what was, in the 17th century, the new new thing xoxooxoo (it did make me smile, sugar!)

  4. Baroque is a play, a game, Spielen – and the court is the great playhouse: as MACHIAVELLI (Ger., Eng.) put it: To seem as if – and to seem as if not, simulatio and dis-simulatio. They liked mirrors a lot back then. And everything of course means something, is loaded with a meaning, a more or less hidden message. Pictures not just show nice women and strange creatures, but it is a mythological scene that is choosen for a certain purpose, it’s painted or otherwise produced at a certain time in a certain context to communicate a statement. And because the classical literacy was learned those who had learned more than basical read and write, that is entered the Latin cosmos and studied – if they liked or not as pupils or students – the canon of classical writers, the eruditi recognized the scenes and depicted situations and could read them. From this textual understanding the postmodern idea – it’s long over, we are seemingly now in a cultural no-mans-land – of deciphering developed: It’s all a text that can be read – and hence it’s all citation! So the play with citations in Eco‘s Rose and other writings – Gaddis’ Recognitions pop up – came into being, but it was play and game a long time before. Europe just discovered it again after the wars (Semiotics). 1789 IS a big threshold, a watershed, and I guess in a way there lies the basical difference between American and European cultural development, history, understanding, as you may call it – and if something as the latter really exists. Looking at the actual announcements of conferences and research projects I can say that we are developing such a thing right now, a kind of European identity – at least a lot of people are working on it.
    Anyway – the rooms of Versailles are soaked with this Baroque idea and as you put it, Savannah, they were the newnewthing back in the 17th century. Murakami’s objects come from a totally different world, originate in a very different cultural fabric, flowers out of a different soil: They transport absolutely other pieces of information, of meaning, are understood and meaning-ful in other relations – for us strange, alien, fremd. He says somewhere that he wants to evoke the same feeling of alienation that Japanese or general Asian humans feel when confronted with pieces of the European (or Western) tradition. As a mildly educated person I can read parts of Versailles or understand the village church (the building and the painted program), but I stand in front of these objects and they are oriental, strange, colourful, quiet, loud, queer, they want to be deciphered, they tickle my curiosity: Isn’t this one of the best things art can do – make curious?

  5. Kahless says:

    I agree with your take on it. Some good (I liked the oval buddha) others just odd.
    Is provoking debate success for an artist, I guess so.

    Great post, thanks.

  6. Maybe in a modern setting, minimalist I could maybe have liked this work.
    In the refined opulence of this palace, this looks grotesque, clumsy. Even rude.
    But you’re certainly made me understand the importance of framing.
    Saw Koons as well.
    Did not care much.

  7. It fits in, doesn’t it LGS – I was surprised as well.

    Hello Kahless, good to see you round here – the Oval Buddha is an impressive object!

    I hope so, Amanda.

    SomewhereMJ, XL.

    Wow, total opposite view on the things, Austere. 🙂

  8. Leni Qinan says:

    Just like magpies, I love shiny stuff. Murakami has its charm. As you brilliantly pointed out, Koons is well marketed.

    Have I missed something? Pussy organ? Where?
    (I used to write for a virtual online newspaper called ‘The Almighty Organ”, but that’s another story…)

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