Takashi Murakami's Career Comes into Focus with "The Octopus Eats its Own Leg" @ MCA Chicago
Imagine the myriad inspirations for the title of Takashi Murakami’s new blockbuster retrospective, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, which opened today, June 6, at MCA Chicago. But don’t count on getting a definable answer from the artist himself. Like an octopus busy operating with eight arms, this artist is busy with multiple endeavors at any given time (eight off the top of our heads include artist, curator, gallerist, filmmaker, designer, collector, sculptor, animator). And we’re sure this octopus is busy juggling and managing what is one of the most prolific contemporary art careers of the last 50 years. But what does the reference to the octopus really mean? We know an octopus can regrow lost limbs, so perhaps Murakami is referring to his spectacular ability attach and detach himself from his seemingly countless endeavors? Or perhaps, just as the brilliant essay on Hyperallergic noted a few weeks back, this is Murakami's ode to the octopus as imperial symobol of impending doom and influence, or as the great writer Allison Meier mentioned, "Since the 19th century, the motif of an octopus on propaganda maps has represented the inhuman spread of evil, its tentacles grasping for land and power." And Murakami has long been fascinated by Imperialism, especially from the West, and how it relates to Japan and Japanese history. So, in a sense, the Octopus could mean many different things. But that is Murakami's career; complicated, fascinating, ambitious, enthralling, and bold.
June 06, 2017