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Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami—who's perhaps best-known in mainstream fashion circles as the one who rainbow-ized and cherry-ized the Louis Vuitton logo—will be staging an exhibition of his work at the Chateau de Versailles outside of Paris from September 14 to December 12. Traditionalist organization Versailles Defence Coordination has collected 4,387 signatures in protest of Murakami's exhibition. Murakami's installations "have no place in the royal apartments," the group says—citing his previous works such as "My Lonesome Cowboy" and "Hiropon," which depict a man using his semen as a lasso and a woman using breast milk as a jump-rope, respectively.
Murakami is the third modern artist to exhibit at Versailles in as many years—Jeff Koons and Xavier Veilhan showed there in 2008 and 2009. Murakami's 22-piece show comprises half new works, including "sculptures, lamps, one painting, one video, and one carpet," reports L Magazine. Murakami writes on the Versailles website:
For a Japanese like me, the Château de Versailles is one of the greatest symbols of Western history. It is the emblem of an ambition for elegance, sophistication and art that most of us can only dream of.· Murakami Versailles [Official Site]
Of course, we are aware that the spark that set fire to the powder of the Revolution came directly from the centre of the building.
But, in many respects, everything is transmitted to us as a fantastic tale coming from a very distant kingdom. Just as French people can find it hard to recreate in their minds an accurate image of the Samurai period, the history of this palace has become diminished for us in reality.
So it is probable that the Versailles of my imagination corresponds to an exaggeration and a transformation in my mind so that it has become a kind of completely separate and unreal world. That is what I have tried to depict in this exhibition.
I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château.
· 4,000 protest Takashi Murakami's Versailles exhibit [Anime Network]
· See a preview of Takashi Murakami's Versailles exhibition [The L Magazine]