Superflatlands: The Global Cultures Of Takashi Murakami And Superflat Art

Kristen Sharp
Vol 26, Number 1, p.32
The interactions and exchanges in contemporary processes of globalisation challenge the conventional binary positioning of the cultures of ‘East’ and ‘West’. Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and his theory of Superflat art provide a useful case study of the strategies artists can employ to actively negotiate cultural and artistic identities ‘in between’ this binary. These strategies, both challenging and reinforcing the East/West binary, are performed in international art markets, which are dominated by Western interests and yet are also open to the restructuring forces of globalisation. Takashi Murakami developed his theory of Superflat art in order to negotiate the cultural and capitalist dynamics that structure global encounters. Revealing the complex and fluid dynamics between culture, capital and art in contemporary globalisation, Murakami’s strategy involves using the market profile generated from the sales and exhibitions of his paintings and sculptures in the United States and Europe to create a context for Superflat art in Japan. Ultimately the paper examines the tensions between the presentation of Superflat as a specifically Japanese expression and the deterritorialising impulses generated by its global circulation.