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Morgan Falconer

revised by Mary Chou

(b Tokyo, 1962).

Japanese painter and sculptor. He studied at Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music (BFA 1986, MFA 1988, PhD 1993). Murakami began to gain recognition as a sculptor in the early 1990s. Drawing on Minimalism and conceptual art, his work often explored the clash between contemporary Japanese and American culture. Sea Breeze (1992), which was made in response to an island location, consists of a large trailer with shutters that open to emit a powerful light; it suggests something of the aggressive, sardonic character of his work, as well as the influence of commercial display. In the late 1990s Murakami gained more recognition as a painter, and began to blend abstraction and cartoon imagery in highly coloured images painted in flat space. Some works are abstract: Cream (1998) depicts a long skein of blue-white seminal fluid flying across a pink backdrop. Others, such as ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Fukuoka, 1959).

Japanese sculptor. He studied at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, and completed a fellowship in sculpture at Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1990. Initially Yanagi was influenced by the Minimalist and Conceptualist orientation of the Japanese Monoha movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; soon after he became known for a series of performances using coloured gas. He rose to international prominence in the 1990s following the success of a number of seminal installations that employed ants as metaphors for global migration. In the Wandering Position series (begun in 1989) Yanagi used chalk to trace out the path of an ant as it moved about a circumscribed area. The World Flag Ant Farm (1990; first exh. Venice Biennale, 1993; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 37) elaborated on his ideas through an installation that comprised a complex of wall-mounted plexiglass boxes filled with coloured sand depicting a number of national flags. He added ants to the boxes, allowing them to crawl around and move the sand from one box to another via transparent tubes, thus progressively destroying the integrity of the flags. Yanagi’s interest in the nation state developed throughout the 1990s to encompass other themes, including ideology, nationalism and the construction of cultural difference. In ...