You’ve hinted at other projects that the time at home has allowed you to realize, including forthcoming exhibitions, collaborations, another Jellyfish Eyes film, and a video game. What can you tell us about your May 2022 exhibition at Gagosianincluding how it connects to Murakami.Flowers?
In this exhibition, I will be creating and presenting three bodies of work with different themes: Murakami.Flowers, my Clone X collaboration with RTFKT, and paintings inspired by Qinghua, which are blue-and-white ceramics from Yuan dynasty China. At first, Gagosian’s owner, Larry Gagosian, asked me to paint seven Qinghua paintings with fish motifs, so I was just working on them. The timing was such that I asked if I could also show works related to Clone X and Murakami.Flowers, and he agreed. I decided to present the three shows simultaneously and give the exhibition an overarching title, “An Arrow Through History.” Japanese culture originally came from the Eurasian continent, and my concept has been to go beyond, from there into the metaverse, shooting through the history of art with a single arrow. I think it worked out well.
Do you see the contemporary art world and NFT world becoming one in the future?
I think the world of the metaverse will become just like the current internet world. I spend about 19 hours a day looking at my phone, and I believe an increasing number of people will become immersed in the metaverse at the same level. In that sense, I believe artworks in the metaverse will come to exist at a scale comparable to artworks in the current “real” world.
Ahead of the Murakami.Flowers release, you have been notably communicative via an email newsletter and social media posts, where you give insight into your philosophies and process. In some cases, it reads as if you’re introducing yourself for the first time, despite having an acclaimed 31-year career. With Murakami.Flowers, does it feel like you’re starting over in any way?
I think most of the NFT users are younger or in their teens, so it’s likely that no one knows about a 60-year-old like me. That’s why I’m explaining myself. It’s like Dragon Ball Z’s Kame Sennin, aka Master Roshi, introducing himself. It’s like I’m saying, “Do you know this old guy?”
You’ve said that NFTs are potentially “a first step towards future values that we don’t yet begin to understand.” Do you have any hopes for these future values?
Now that I’m 60, I’ve witnessed how computers for home use emerged and how the internet world arose from zero. Now, we can computerize everything on our mobile phones, but 20 years ago, it was impossible to even imagine. In 20 more years, I bet mobile devices themselves will be gone. I imagine that, by then, what you think in your brain will be instantaneously realized. In a world where humans are completely changed, we’ll be forced to think about what art is, and new values will be generated from that contemplation.