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Japan artist Murakami brings manga controversy to Versailles

Japan artist Murakami brings manga controversy to Versailles

From a big-bosomed French maid to a Pepsi-guzzling monster, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's outlandish manga visions overwhelm the Chateau of Versailles, and not everyone is happy.
Unbelievably, his metal, fibreglass and acrylic sculptures manage to dominate the vast chambers of Versailles, with their marbled walls, gold leaf capitals and celestial ceiling frescoes.
But while French monarchists have denounced as "illegal" the exhibition in the rococo splendour of Louis XIV's monument to absolute power, the artist himself says that he is quite used to what he calls "Murakami-bashing."
"This criticism was also in Japan, especially on social networking sites, there were 3,000 critics," the 48-year-old told journalists at the show's opening. "All of this is because of a misunderstanding, in my opinion."
The bespectacled and bearded artist compares some of the reactions to his show to those at a football match.
"When someone scores a goal, someone is going to be unhappy," he says enigmatically, adding that while he respects others' points of view, he will never change anything in his exhibitions as a result.
But the man sometimes billed as the new Andy Warhol, thanks to his art "factory" outside Tokyo that churns out thousands of works, admits competing with the Sun King was "probably the most complex exhibition that I've done."
The first such show in the palace in 2008, with bright and bizarre sculptures by the US artist Jeff Koons, also angered traditionalists.
Prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme, an heir of Louis XIV, tried to get it banned, saying it dishonoured his family's past, but the courts dismissed his bid.
Despite the incongruity of Murakami's Miss Ko2 plastic waitress facing down Jupiter in the Salon of War, from a distance his golden Oval Buddha rising from the gardens could be confused with some of the palace's original garish decor.


Updated : 2021-07-25 03:44 GMT+08:00