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Creative Arts Forum | Chris Arneaud-Clarke


Arts Forum is a public program of the School of Creative Arts

Start Date

1 Sep 2017 12:30 pm

End Date

1 Sep 2017 1:30 pm


Dechaineux Lecture Theatre

RSVP / Contact

All current students and members of the public are welcome

Arts Forum. Image Credit: Chris Arneaud-Clarke, Superflat Title Page. 2017

What was Superflat?

The question, “what was superflat?” might be answered briefly and cynically: “superflat” was a marketing term made famous by the Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, who used it to sell a certain kind of pop art to Westerners for about a decade at the beginning of this century. By levelling the distinction between high and low culture, it was claimed, Murakami brought to light the unique continuity of Edo-era aesthetics with contemporary manga and anime, locating the repressed truth of Japanese identity in the traumatic fantasies, the cult-like obsessions, and the sexual fetishism of post-war subcultures.

Everything seems in place, on this account, for an applied psychoanalytic interpretation of superflat art. That is, unless you happen to be a Lacanian analyst. Wasn’t it Jacques Lacan who announced, to practically everyone’s dissatisfaction, that the Japanese have no unconscious, that psychoanalysis is, for them, neither necessary nor possible?

In this Art Forum presentation, Chris Arneaud-Clarke will outline superflat as a concept, suggesting that it is not just a kind of self-orientalising artworld brandname, but a term with a specific theoretical interest. This can be shown by looking at a few of Murakami’s works, and considering some Lacanian theory.

Chris Arneaud-Clarke is a lecturer in Critical and Theoretical Studies at the Victorian College of the Arts. He gives public talks and lectures in Melbourne and Hobart.

For more information, please visit

Image Credit: Chris Arneaud-Clarke, Superflat Title Page. 2017

Arts Forum is a weekly series of free public lectures held at the School of Creative Arts, Hunter Street Campus, during the semester. The series provides a unique opportunity to hear local, national and international visiting artists, scholars and presenters from diverse sectors of the Creative Arts discuss their area of professional practice. All current students, prospective students, and members of the public are welcome.