Following on the heels of celebrated exhibitions by Jeff Koons and Xavier Veilhan, Japanese Pop artist Takashi Murakami is taking the Château of Versailles by storm with a show of manga-inspired sculptures opening today. Grandiose in scope and scale and seductive in the masterful use of materials, Murakami’s comical cast of characters is perfectly matched with the rooms and gardens of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette’s ornate palace.
Although not everyone is happy to see the controversial artist’s work displayed in the French national treasure, particularly the country’s conservatives, Murakami seems thrilled with the historical mash-up. “I am The Cheshire Cat who greets Alice in Wonderland with his devilish grin, and chatters on as she wanders around the Château,” says the artist, in reference to one of his works on view. And then, sounding a bit like Walt Disney hyping his amusement park in a 1960s commercial, he adds, “With my playful smile, I invite you all to the Wonderland of Versailles.”
Twenty-two works by Murakami, of which eleven are new, are spread out over 15 rooms of the estate, as well as its glorious grounds. “Contemporary artistic creation allows another perception of this living, ever-changing monument,” states Laurent Le Bon, the director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz and curator of the exhibition, who sees the show as “a new labyrinth of Versailles, that has the purpose of both distracting and entertaining the viewer.”
Murakami-Versailles is on view at the Château of Versailles, outside of Paris, through December 12.
Click through below for a gallery of images.
Takashi Murakami, Flower Matango, 2001-2006. Fiberglass, iron, oil paint and acrylic, 315 x 204,7 x 263 cm / 10,33 x 6,7 x 8,63 feet ©2001-2006 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo : Cedric Delsaux - The Hall of Mirrors / Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami - Tongari-Kun 2003 - 2004, Fibre de verre, acier et huile, acrylique et peinture uréthane - 700 x 350 cm © 2003 - 2004 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All right reserved. Photo: Florian Kleinefenn - Salon d'Hercule / Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami, J, 2010. Aluminium and gold leaf, 104 x 80 x 90 cm / 3,41 x 2,62 x 2,95 feet ©2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo : Cedric Delsaux - The Queen’s Guards Room / Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami, The Emperor’s New Clothes, 2005. Fiberglass, resin, iron, wood, fabrics, oil paint, acrylic and lacquer, 189 x 109 x 102 cm / 6,23 x 3,14 x 1,50 feet ©2005 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo : Cedric Delsaux - The Coronation Room/ Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami, Yume Lion (The Dream Lion), 2009 -2010. Aluminum and gold leaf, 191 x 127 x 110 cm / 6,3 feet x 50 ½ inches x 43 ¼ inches ©2009-2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo : Cedric Delsaux - The Apollo Salon / Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami, Oval Buddha, 2007-2010. Bronze and gold leaf, 568 x 312 x 319 cm / 18,6 x 10,46 x 10,21 feet ©2007-2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo : Cedric Delsaux - Water Parterre / Château de Versailles