It is funny how I am all the way in London, reporting for a blog based in Taiwan, and here/now, I am going to mention Takashi Murakami who is from Japan!
But I guess that is what the contemporary art scene (and not only) is all about.
We are all influenced by someone or something from the moment we are born; starting from within our family, our close environment, to our friends, our social surroundings and so forth... So sometimes it does strike me as odd or even extra ordinary when someone from the other side of the world seems to be pre-occupied with similar if not the same topic/s as me or a fellow artist etc.
I do wonder if as a starting point it has to do with the fact that we are all made out of the same stuff and therefore share the same (basic?) needs.
Recently, I went back to Greece to visit friends and family and what struck me as being really apparent was the fact that we all live in our little bubbles troubled by the same things, miles away from each other trying to survive. I say troubled but I also mean thrilled and delighted accordingly.
But coming back to Takashi Murakami’s exhibition; it was held in the London Gagosian Gallery. Here you can view the actual exhibition, have a look: http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/2011-06-27_takashi-murakami/
I am not going to talk about the exhibition but what I am going to mention is that on the side of the gallery, to the far left, these plastic sleeves (see below) were placed casually on a ledge for anyone to take. As I recall, there was no sign telling or encouraging the audience to take one (this of course does not mean that I did not miss it). So my question is: how do you feel about getting things for free? and why? Do you like the idea of it? Getting a free souvenir from an exhibition just visited? Or is it yet another something, to stifle even more your lack of personal space?
Only once before do I remember taking a free poster-like print from an exhibition at the Tramway Gallery in Glasgow which ended up in the bin. But this little freebie has more to it. It is a small version of a big one seen in the exhibition, it is cute and friendly and most importantly it has a process and therefore maybe a therapeutically side to it; as it asks of you to fold and put it together giving you a sense of an accomplished task.
And for the artist? What does he gain out of it? Why is he doing it? Does he want to give something back to the audience, to the people who have supported his career? Is it simply a good marketing tool, to promote ‘Kaikai Kiki Co’ limited, his company? And if so, does that matter? Does it matter or is he actually making us aware of this company which in turn also supports young Japanese artists? Maybe the artist’s goal was in fact for this element of his exhibition to be spread far and wide throughout the households, supporting/emphasizing/pointing out the notion of globalisation and then again...maybe not.