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Superflat Collage

Superflat

Started: 2000

Superflat Timeline

Quotes

"...We were trying to link art, which fundamentally has no value, with capitalism and to show how it can be seen as valuable."
Takashi Murakami
"I don't like making shows in Japan because Japanese people don't understand my point of view."
Takashi Murakami
"What is important in Japanese art is the feeling of flatness. Our culture doesn't have 3-D."
Takashi Murakami
"My work feels like strands of my thoughts that have flown around the universe before coming back to materialize,"
Chiho Aoshima
"This is just what comes out."
Yoshitomo Nara
"I wanted to escape from all the gravity that restrains me. I wanted freedom..."
Aya Takano

KEY ARTISTS

Takashi MurakamiTakashi Murakami
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Yoshitomo NaraYoshitomo Nara
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Aya TakanoAya Takano
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"On one side, I am trying to show my compatriots what 'art' means on a global scale, and on the other, to the foreigners, I am trying to show the essence of our current culture."

Takashi Murakami Signature

Synopsis

When Japanese artist Takashi Murakami coined the term Superflat in 2001, he launched one of postmodern art's most invigorated movements. Based on the compilation and compression of centuries' worth of Japanese "flat" art aesthetics, and inspired by the country's distinctively unique post World War II anime and manga craze, he inspired other artists to join him in putting Japan on the art world map. Often categorized as a Japanese form of Pop Art, Superflat has become an international phenomenon, infiltrating all areas of consumer culture from high to low art.

Key Ideas

The flat of Superflat has dual meanings. It refers not only to the history of non-three-dimensional styles of Japanese art, but also remarks on the flat, shallowness of consumer culture, something the movement has been doubly said to either celebrate or critically exploit.
Although primarily drawing upon contemporary Japanese subcultures, the influence of Pop Art and Neo-Pop Art on Superflat cannot be denied because of its use of modern popular culture as a continual source of fodder. Not only does this expand Pop's reach as a movement but solidifies its foundation upon which artists worldwide are perpetually influenced by the constant stream of imagery and messages fed to society via mass media.
Superflat has successfully and significantly blurred the lines between fine art and commercial art with work that ranges from traditional painting and sculpture to digital art, graphic design, and film to fashion and product design and development. Because of this, it has revolutionized the appropriation of globalized visual culture toward creating and manufacturing creative forms of art that can be accessed and bought by audiences across all economic spectrums.

Beginnings

Superflat Image

Japan has a centuries long tradition of "flat" art. The term generally refers to an aesthetic seen in the country's artistic output spanning many movements, styles, and forms defined by characteristics such as bold outlines, flat coloring, and a decided lack of natural perspective, depth, and three-dimensionality. Crossing periods of history and shifts in culture, "flat" has remained a strong identifier of Japanese art, all of which influenced the development of Superflat. It is only through the lens of viewing this long history that one can fully grasp the compilation that makes up this contemporary art movement, one directly informed by and drawn from all its parts into a modern lexicon.

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Superflat Overview Continues

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Movement Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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