"I Was Born Again": Artist Takashi Murakami on how NFTs helped him see the art industry again |  Artnet news

“I Was Born Again”: Artist Takashi Murakami on how NFTs helped him see the art industry again | Artnet news – Mail Bonus

Late March 2021, only three weeks leftChristie’s sold the Beeple you heard about for $ 69 millionTakashi Murakami released its first NFT: a series of pixelated flowers, each formed in the artist’s characteristic Superflat aesthetic.

But it turned out that Murakami, like the others, was still getting his head around the idea. In an unexpected announcement 11 days later, the artist said paused the long-awaited NFT projectand said “it would be best to explore the most optimal format to offer my NFT works on.”

Since then, Murakami has put two hugely successful NFT initiatives in his belt, so it seems that the Japanese artist has found the whole cryptographic device. So much so, in fact, that he is now making physical paintings and sculptures of his own Murakami.Blóm and Clone X NFT series, which actually reverses the process he started 14 months ago.

Hundreds of these works, as well as new paintings inspired by porcelain vases from the Yuan dynasty of China (c. 1279–1368), form “Scar through the story, ”Murakami’s new exhibition at Gagosian in New York. This is the artist’s first gallery exhibition in the city since 2014, and he has traveled all over the world, in collaboration with the NFT studios Oncyber and RTFKT (the latter of which he worked on Clone X) to create a digital viewing experience accessible via VR headphones and Snapchat. And eThe excitement seems to be high: Gagosian began offering artwork from the show last week, claiming to have sold more than 120 of them in a 24-hour period.

But even though his work is back in the IRL gallery, Murakami’s mind is on NFTs. It is clear that his involvement in the world of digital art has had a significant impact on how he approaches his practice. Or so he told me in an email interview before the opening for “Scar through the story. ”

Takashi Murakami with Andrew Fabricant, CEO of Gagosian, at the opening of “An Arrow Through History”. With the permission of the artist and Gagosian. Photo: Yvonne Tnt.

You released your first NFT images in late March 2021, but these artwork was withdrawn from the OpenSea market just 11 days later. Can you take me back to that moment? Why did you decide to stop and do an audit, rather than study with a trial, as you originally intended?

The reason I quit was that after thinking about whether I should simply rely on OpenSea and publish video files as NFT or make my own smart deal, I decided to make my own smart deal to maintain the independence of the project in the future . It took me a while to find the right company that could do it for me.

How did you come to understand the NFT landscape better after the postponement? What did you learn?

I tried to understand what the audience / collectors hoped for from the NFT market or its structure. As a context, it was necessary for me to understand the concept of cryptocurrency and Web 3.0 and it took me a long time to come up with this part.

Takashi Murakami, Murakami.Flower # 0085 Smiling Girl (2022).  © 2022 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.  courtesy of Gagosian.

Takashi Murakami, Murakami.Flower # 0085 Smiling girl (2022). © 2022 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. courtesy of Gagosian.

You have mentioned before that you see “great potential” in the world of cryptography. What excites you about that? How, if at all, do you envision transforming the art world?

Collecting digital images (.jpg, etc.) that NFT-art actually shrinks into the core of an art gallery. The idea of ​​”owning” something is actually abstract, and as a system to secure that concept, NFT art builds on cryptocurrency, Web 3.0 and blockchain – magic words – for it to work. Physical works of art, such as physical objects, need materials such as canvas and paint, or stone and metal, to reinforce the concepts that support their value. But it is possible that such materials are not really necessary for art to be art. That’s the most remarkable thing that comes to mind when you start creating NFT art.

By collecting NFT images, you begin to unpack and understand the mystery of what collecting art means. Even if it’s just a picture, as soon as you become aware of the fact that you bought the picture and share that fact with others, the idea of ​​collecting is ingrained in your brain. And in cryptographic communication, such information exchange is fastest; I believe that those who have become aware of this future structure will never be able to return.

Gallery visitors watch the opening of Takashi Murakami

Gallery visitor watches Takashi Murakami’s opening of “Arrow Through History” by Takashi Murakami. With the permission of the artist and Gagosian. Photo: Yvonne Tnt.

Do you think you have found a new or different target audience through NFT?

The rise of NFT art was completely synchronized with the development of the pandemic. If it were not for the pandemic, it would not have permeated so much. When people were no longer able to come and go physically, we began to focus solely on ideas and the act of sharing the abstract eliminated the noise; we began to pursue the question of what value meant. I think the new audience that consists of such people who can think this way has emerged as a result.

Many established artists have created NFT images based on their own artwork, but you also reverse that process and create actual NFT images based on the new exhibition. What about the translation – turning digital artwork into physical – that interests you?

I wanted to follow the evolution of man, to catch up, take over and see the future beyond, and for that I paid attention to the meta-verse as an angle. I thought I could be reborn if I could put in myself a new measure that could not be measured using the current sense of value. So I tried and was definitely born again.

Takashi Murakami, Chinese perch by Kitaōji Rosanjin (2022).  © 2022 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.  courtesy of Gagosian.

Takashi Murakami, Chinese redfish by Kitaōji Rosanjin (2022).
© 2022 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. courtesy of Gagosian.

In addition to the new NFT-related works, the Gagosian exhibition finds you looking seven centuries back in time to the Yuan clan for inspiration. With that in mind, what does the title of the show, “Arrow through History,” mean to you?

When I was in art college, I studied in Nihonga [Japanese painting] department. At the height of the bubble economy, paintings of the genre, with “Nihon (Japan)” in the title, were traded at the highest prices in the Japanese art scene. After the economic bubble, however, Nihonga disappeared as a species. After the war, the wealthy, with their economic support, wanted to regain Japan’s status and consumed impressionistic paintings based on themes such as Mount Fuji, the beauty of women in kimonos, changing seasons in Japan and the Silk Road as one of the origins of Japanese culture traced by Marco Polo. However, the exploding bubble economy sent another shockwave of defeat across all of Japanese culture and Nihonga disappeared.

Still, I had been learning Nihonga for six years, so traditional Japanese painting materials have been imprinted on me. With this as an artistic basis, I assumed that there must be some common ground that could be found in the path of conceptual art up to NFT art, and I made works based on that premise. What in common, for me, was the Superflat method.

Installation view of Takashi Murakami's exhibition,

Installation view of Takashi Murakami’s exhibition, “An Arrow through History,” 2022. Artwork © 2022 Takashi Murakami / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian.

Extensive partnerships with fashion and luxury brands have helped define your career, and your recent project with Nike and RTFKT (Nike Dunk Genesis Cryptokicks) undoubtedly falls into that category. What has the success of these collaborations taught you about art?

In every development, without exception, there is a context that is short of history. So if you look for that context, refine it as a target and let a shot straight into its center, it will inevitably become an impressive task. This is how it works.

Takashi Murakami: Scar through the story“” is on display now through June 25, 2022.

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