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Lecture 24

FA 34a Lecture Notes - Lecture 24: Li Keran, Yoshitomo Nara, Superflat

Fine Arts
Course Code
FA 34a
Aida Wong

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Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Lecture
Takashi Murakami
Murakami’s “Super Nova” (1999) exemplifies the notion of “Superflat”. Superflat emphasizes
flatness, as seen in earlier Japanese works such as ukiyo-e, specifically relating to form.
Murakami argues that this aesthetic also is prevalent throughout Japanese visual culture, such as
in manga and anime. Murakami’s exhibitions have promoted other artists that have upheld the
Superflat manifesto, such as Yoshitomo Nara. The works of Soga Shohaku were among the
works that influenced Murakami, especially “Dragon and Clouds” (a work which he responded
to). Murakami’s “Enso” derives from earlier works, especially from Zen. Murakami’s “500
Arhats” reflects rage and is heavily influenced by earlier religious works.
Cultural Revolution
Communist propaganda encouraged “smashing the old world to establish the new world”. Cheng
Shifa’s “Three Friends in Winter” (1970) symbolizes moral integrity, etc. Shi Lu’s “I Love the
Stately Pines on Mt. Hua” (1972) depicts rigid and resistant pine trees. Li Kuchan had been an
art professor, but lost his job once the CCP took power in 1950. He appealed to Mao and was
able to regain his professorship.
Li Keran
Li Keran’s “Stubborn Buffalo” (1962) notes that despite the buffalo’s typical cooperation, it will
actually resist. Li Keran’s “Painstaking Creation” seemed to support earlier traditions, and his
landscape paintings were criticized for being too dark. While in Germany, Li Keran was able to
study the works of Rembrandt. Works such as Li Keran’s “Appreciating a Painting” were not
allowed during this political climate.
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