Shinji Murakami
Kesäyö + Maitohorsma (Summer Night + Fireweed)

Inspired by his arrival and stay in Mänttä, Murakami reflects on the openness he finds here. Having grown up playing video games in the 1980s, Murakami remembers the space those simple games allowed for the child’s imagination. Today, the hyperrealist computer games leave little room for a player’s imagination to fill in the digital world. So too, an artist’s mind is constantly bombarded with information in cities like New York, where the artist lives, and Helsinki.

The original version of Shinji Murakami’s Kesäyö (Summer Night) and Maitohorsma (Fireweed) was made during the artist’s residency at the Serlachius Museum in Mänttä, Finland. It was a computer affixed to an easel and surrounded by painted wooden flowers.

Summer Night is the animation of manipulated images sourced from the Google search of the word Kesäyö. The artist has broken down these collected images to a minimal pixel count of 2 to 3 pixels per image. The flower sculptures are pixelated versions of Finland’s famed fireweed flower. Inspired by its abundance in Mänttä, Murakami juxtaposes his digital work with the sculptures craved from wood, again reflecting on the gap between the 1980s and today, as well as the big city versus the countryside.

Installation of new variation on Kesäyö and Maitohorsma, 2020

Kesäyö (Summer Night), 2019, LED matrix panel, computer, microSD card, aluminum, screw and power, 20 × 30 × 2 in | 50 × 76 × 5 cm

Maitohorsma (Fireweed), 2019, Wood, alkyd paint, stand, 19 × 25 × 5 in | 48 × 63 × 12