The Gagosian Debuts Hip Hop Inspired Art Show With Collaborative Works By Takashi Murakami And Virgil Abloh.

Coinciding with London Fashion Week 2018, the Gagosian opened a new exhibition titled, “Future History”. It is a collaborative project by artist Takashi Murakami and fashion designer Virgil Abloh.

The two artist worked together in Murakami’s Tokyo studio and produced a unique series of works in which their styles, trademarks and joint love of hip hop intersect in a stream of free-wheeling, punkish street mash-ups.

Takashi Murakami (right) and Virgil Abloh (left)

Artist Takashi Murakami first captured the imagination of an entire generation with his drawings. His inspiration comes from traditional Japanese painting, otaku subculture, Western art theory, Hollywood, and hip-hop.

We want to see the newest things. That is because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily. It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. This is what we have come to call art.

Takashi Murakami

Artist Takashi Murakami in front of his paintings.

Virgil Abloh was an architect and engineer before he made his move into the fashion industry. Abloh incorporates his architectural and engineering background along with his cultural roots to challenge and analyze existing aesthetic systems and their distribution. The street-couture label Off-White, which he founded in 2013, combines traditional tailoring with more subversive references, dispensing with common conventions of fashion.

We are driven by an innate ambition to make art works that are shaped by societal observations – in a variety of media – which by their existence produce a new cultural impact.

Virgil Abloh

rihanna-off-white-spring18
Singer Rihanna in Off-White, Spring 2018 collection.

The duo’s ironic and insouciant artistic gestures are designed to disrupt the divisions and tiers of stratified cultural production. The sculpture Life itself (2018) is a kind of architectural carapace designed by Abloh to house one of Murakami’s brightly sinister flower sculptures.

Virgil Abloh and Takashi Murakami art installation at the Gagosian London.

In another instance, Glance past the future (2018), they transform Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s 1623 self-portrait by superimposing Murakami’s character Mr. DOB to affect a graphic blur of pink and black, like a desecrated street poster leaving behind traces of an art-historical lineage.

Virgil Abloh and Takashi Murakami painting at the Gagosian London.

Murakami & Abloh at Gagosian Davies Street, London
“future history”
February 21 – April 7, 2018 

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