Kaikai Kiki

Superflat

Kaikai Kiki Co. is an artists’ collective founded by the artist Takashi Murakami of Japan. It was originally founded to manage the many assistants employed to create Murakami’s work. It gradually evolved into a collaborative vehicle for other like-minded artists. Many of the artists were of a younger generation and have benefited greatly by the help in the production, distribution and sale of their own work, and also participating in international exhibitions with Murakami serving as artist or curator.

Kaikai and Kiki are characters that represent Murakami’s spiritual guardians. One is white with big ears and a smiling mouth (Kaikai), the other is pink with small ears, three eyes and some shark-like teeth (Kiki). The word kaikaikiki is used to describe the work of Kano Eitoku, a 16th century Japanese painter who is known as a genius of the Kano style. Murakami uses Japanese lettering to write the term on the ears of his characters, and their origins derive from descriptions of Kano’s work as kaikaikiki ‘bizarre, yet refined,’ ‘delicate yet bold.’

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