Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami has caused a sensation in France with the opening of his exhibition at the Versailles Palace near Paris. The exhibition, which is hosted in the stately 17th century venue’s Grand Apartment and Hall of Mirrors, includes 20 works from throughout Murakami’s career, including the life-sized sculpture of a particularly buxom maid, Miss Ko2 (1997); the cartoon character-like sculptures, Kaikai and Kiki (2000); and the dazzlingly reflective Oval Buddha Silver (2008).
The show has drawn criticism from people who believe the brightly coloured, anime-inspired works have no place in the sumptuous French palace. News agencies report that several online petitions against the exhibition were created and small demonstrations against it have been held.
"The show is meant to be a “face-off between the Baroque period and postwar Japan, and I hope it will create in visitors a sort of shock, an aesthetic feeling,” Murakami reportedly said.
|the oval buddha|
As part of the contested new exhibition, the psychedelic piece, "Flower Matango," and a dozen other monumental sculptures by celebrated POPartist are now rubbing elbows with the treasures of Versailles – magnificent tapestries, marble sculptures and paintings by 18th century masters.
That proximity between old and new – between the charged Baroque style and that of Japanese comic books, or mangas – is making some people uncomfortable. Even before the exhibition's official opening Sept. 13, "Murakami Versailles" sparked a storm of criticism from groups who denounced the show as inappropriate.
Murakami's known for his outrageous, manga-influenced aesthetic and his lucrative collaboration with luxury bag-maker Louis Vuitton. The groups complained that his work has no place in rooms once belonging to France's Sun King, Louis XIV.