If I could summon all the priests and the demons of our Western collective consciousness by applying layers and layers of acrylic paint on ten meters of canvas, like Takashi Murakami can do with Japanese religion, I’m afraid I wouldn’t find much comfort in them, despite Propp, the narrative, the teeth, the claws and the painted fingernails, and I would end up taking refuge in self-portraits.
I’m a bit uncomfortable around post-Fukushima art because it seems to me that Japanese artists who used to delve into individuality, they main reason why they appealed to me, are now busy looking for a sense of belonging. It’s happening with Murakami Haruki too, with Tazaki Tsukuru. This is very poignant and it makes perfect sense, it’s just not what I need at the moment.
Therefore I was very happy when I discovered, among the hugely stunning works displayed at Palazzo Reale in Milan this summer, in the darkened Sala delle Cariatidi, a number of relatively small self-portraits where Murakami Takashi appears in low key attire and asymmetric nostrils.
I’ve got asymmetric nostrils too.