This enterprise emerged out of Murakami’s own production studio, which he expanded into a large, comprehensive art production company. After having launched and operated the now defunct art fair GEISAI starting in 2002, Murakami set out to learn how the gallery world was structured. He opened Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo’s Motoazabu district in 2008. The gallery organises exhibitions that are not limited to Kaikai Kiki’s own artists. The unconventional exhibition programme reflects Murakami’s open and non-hierarchical mindset as it includes such disparate elements as famous international contemporary artists, older, underrated Japanese artists and contemporary lifestyle ceramics. Murakami’s expansion of his own studio to encompass such varied activities bears witness to his deep commitment to Japanese art and his desire to use his influence to promote young or underrated Japanese artists and to transform the art market in Japan.
In the exhibition Murakami by Murakami, this aspect of the artist’s activities is presented through an “exhibition within the exhibition”, where Murakami himself has selected a number of artists whom he has shown and promoted through Kaikai Kiki. As is typical for Murakami, the works exhibited range from contemporary fine art to lifestyle ceramics, and include pieces by Chiho Aoshima, Chinatsu Ban, Kazunori Hamana, JNTHED, Mahomi Kunikata, MADSAKI, Mr., Kazumi Nakamura, ob, Atsushi Ogata, Otani Workshop, Aya Takano and Yuji Ueda.