Aida on the floating ‘book’ stage on Lake Constance in Bregenz, Austria.
This festival has become renowned for its unconventional staging of shows. Verdi’ s opera “A Masked Ball” in 1999 featured a giant book being read by a skeleton.
Renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has recently opened his latest exhibition of work titled Flowers & Skulls. The show, his first in Hong Kong, features a number of the contemporary artist’s creations that touch on contrasting themes of joy and terror and their coexistence. Murakami’s vibrant images flourish with colorfully animated flowers. Alternatively, there is a collection of skulls depicted in his work that is equally colorful. Each figure serves as a symbol of a differing theme. While flowers often signify peace and happiness, skulls are visual triggers of death and mortality. There is an enchanting balance to the way Murakami is able to allow the opposing thematic emblems occupy the same space. In addition to his spirited cast of characters, the artist plays with a wide spectrum of color, testing the true source of interpretation of each symbol. Do the skulls appear less menacing when displayed in bright, inviting colors? Are the flowers more ominous when given a darker color palette? Just as he has blurred the lines between high-art and low-art in his career with his “superflat” movement, Murakami blurs the lines between happiness and fear. Flowers & Skulls is currently on display at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong through February 9, 2013.