Takashi Murakami “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” @ Gagosian Gallery New York
Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is currently showcasing his major exhibition, titled ”In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,” at Gagosian Gallery New York. A range of new paintings and sculptures was created as a result of Murakami’s exploration of Japanese art made following historic natural disasters. Combining classical techniques with the latest technologies, the artworks feature elements of religious symbols, self-portraits, science fiction and manga imagery. The ”In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” exhibition will run until January 17, 2015, so make sure to check it out if you’re in the area.
Gagosian Gallery New York
555 W. 24th St.
New York, NY 10011
BAPE‘s ape logo is one of the most widely recognizable graphics in streetwear. It was inspired by the original Planet of the Apes movies and has stuck with the brand since its inception in the early ’90s. The emblem has been printed as a caricature on numerous occasions, and has even spawned the miniature version, Baby Milo. Now, BAPE is bringing the classic design to the UK high-end department store Selfridges. The exclusive tee features a metallic gold face ape across the chest.
Whether or not you are familiar with Wabi-Sabi, it is a difficult concept to fully understand. Ingrained in Japanese design and influenced by Buddhism, the viewpoint is simply defined as the beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, which many of us associate with the cliché “perfect imperfection.” To some degree, this paradoxical assumption is correct as the loose translation of the word “Wabi” refers to the type of beauty underpinned by imperfection, while “Sabi” refers to the beauty of the inevitable aging process. Upon delving deeper into the subject area it is clear that its significance is greater than superficial factors as it is underpinned by spiritual meaning. Using the perception of sight, sound and smell, Wabi-Sabi encourages people to appreciate the surrounding environment by stripping down and experiencing everything in its basic form. This perspective enables people to find interest for simple objects and in turn, lead a more fulfilling life.
From a design point of view, it is easy to see why Wabi-Sabi is often confused with both minimal and natural aesthetics; both of which are disciplines separate in their own right. However, the tangible aspects are conceivably easier to grasp than its intangible elements, which is suggested by the popularity of Wabi-Sabi inspired decor in many restaurants, shops and homes. However, in many instances even this goes underappreciated due to either misrepresentation or lack of understanding for both the designer and the consumer.
Keeping this in mind, the following imagery captures Wabi-Sabi in various settings within Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, located in the heart of Honshu. This exploration focuses on the visual aspect of this age old Japanese philosophy, while offering insight on how to appreciate certain nuances. Kyoto has an abundance of temples, shrines and cultural references, all of which encapsulate both explicit and subtle details of Wabi-Sabi. We travelled to several places in the area, including the outskirts of the Yamashiro basin, searching for five locations that embody this ancient way of life.
Ginkaku-ji is a Zen temple renowned for its sand garden, designed specifically to serve as a place for rest and solitude. Upon entering the temple, its natural aromas and lush state of overgrowth immediately grabs your attention. In the context of Wabi-Sabi, moss represents an important cornerstone, the aforementioned aging process which interestingly leads you to analyze and appreciate the slow growing plant in a new light.
The entire Ginkaku-ji experience engages your senses and once you are able to divert your attention to the rest of the sand garden, you’ll come across standout features like the sand mound that symbolizes Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan.
Kyoto Prefecture 606-8402
Before stepping through the doors of this tea house, the simplicity of its name already sets the tone. This small establishment allows you to experience a Japanese tea ceremony built on tradition, spirituality and appreciation for handcrafted tea cups, pots and utensils. Commonly serving Nihon-cha, the entire experience has a Wabi-Sabi undertone that runs through the traditional methods of preparation up to the point of enjoying the tea’s subtle, refined flavors.
Kyoto Prefecture 605-0063
Ryōan-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Kyoto, in large part because of its well looked after rock garden. The garden’s asymmetrical rock formations and meticulously raked pebbles offer a tranquil environment that can be appreciated from many perspectives. In addition, Wabi-Sabi’s link to Zen Buddhism gives the temple distinct qualities that allow you to focus on the simple natural objects and escape from stressful distractions.
13 Ryoan-ji Goryonoshitacho
Kyoto Prefecture 616-8001
Situated in the middle of a rich and vibrant forest, Genko-an temple sits in a beautiful, secluded garden. Similar to the other Zen temples featured, Genko-an allows visitors to breakaway from unnecessary distraction and shift focus on enlightenment. This all stems from its outlook on a different arm of Zen Buddhism. Through the lens of a simple square and circular window, dubbed “The Window of Confusion” and “The Window of Enlightenment” respectively, the temple allows individuals to look over the same garden but with different perspectives. This simple effect highlights the essence of Wabi-Sabi and is designed to give people cause to think about how they approach situations in their own lives.
Kyoto Prefecture 603-8468
Over the course of Yohji Yamamoto’s 40-year career, his mysterious nature and innovative designs have propelled him to an extensive body of work from fashion, exhibitions, film, and an ongoing collaboration with adidas. Luxury book publisher Rizzoli has just released a 400-plus page book that pays tribute to his seemingly limitless creativity and unique process, titled Yamamoto & Yohji. The dedicated book features an abundance of photographs of Yamamoto’s most iconic looks as well as essays and interviews. The inspirational Yamamoto & Yohji book is available now online at Rizzoli for $115 USD.
Having first come to prominence in 1999 when he was signed to LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking label, Makoto has steadily, consistently carved out his own groove in the world of Drum and Bass, with his trademark expansive jazz and soul-inflected workouts garnering critical praise from all corners. Having worked with a veritable who’s who of the scene, with releases on Zinc’s Bingo Beats, Fabio’s Creative Source, Hospital Records and numerous collaborations with DJ Marky, Makoto now releases his first EP on Apollo records.