A.A. Murakami at Superblue – Beguiling Bouncing Bubbles

Ellie & I recently visited A A Murakami’s Silent Fall at Burlington Gardens at the rear end of the Royal Academy building complex. Timed with the beginning of Frieze Week 2021 the installation will be running until summer 2022.


You enter a giant, relatively dark room where bubbles are being released from tube-like dispensers above you. Because of the mirrors spread all over the walls, the space seems like an infinite forest.

The bubbles look relatively heavy like honey or jelly. However, they turn out to weigh next to nothing. This is why they float towards the ground very slowly.


You can catch them with your hand. The gallery provides you with a glove for that purpose, as you are not supposed to touch the bubbles with your bare hands. You can make the bubbles bounce up and down on your glove-covered palm or burst them.



The bubbles contain fragrance, so if you are hypersensitive or allergic to some fragrances then this show might not be for you. When a bubble bursts, it releases the smoke it is filled with, unexpected and rather pleasing on the eye. The scents and audio track for Silent Fall were created by perfumer Paul Schütze.


Silent Fall is based on A A Murakami’s ground-breaking, widely celebrated, earlier piece New Spring, which had become an immediate Instagram phaenomenon when it was first shown at Milan Design Week in 2017.



In 2011 Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves founded Studio Swine with a base in London and one in Tokyo. If I understand correctly, then they only decided later on to limit Studio Swine to product and furniture design while using the label A A Murakami for their art installations.


They call their works “Ephemeral Tech” and say that they want their art to be where the boundaries between technology and nature are gone. On the Superblue website they are being quoted as saying that they intend to create “unnatural phenomena using real materials that engage all our senses beyond the standard visual stimuli of flat screens, projections, and LED arrays.”


Like the first human attempts at art such as cave paintings depicting animals or stone circles aligned with the movement of the sun, A A Murakami’s art emulates nature and tries to connect us with it.


When you walk through Silent Fall you get both vibes of a futuristic world, a dystopian hell where the only trees around are artificial trees, and of our origins as life forms. The first cells, Groves reminds us in an interview with Wallpaper magazine, were bubbles.


Through Studio Swine, the two artists have achieved enormous success over the years. Their work is now part of the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMA in New York, and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, three of our favourite museums.



Alongside No One Is An Island, Silent Fall is the first London project for Superblue. This platform provider and commercial partner of experiential artists was co-founded by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, who set up the London outpost of Pace Gallery, and Marc Glimcher, Pace’s CEO. Initially called PaceX and run as a Pace Gallery side project, many of Superblue’s artists continue to be represented by Pace.


Tickets are £12 online, £15 walk-in.

The open hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 10am to 7pm, Friday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm. The exhibition is closed on Mondays.


Bond Street (Central and Jubilee line), Green Park (Jubilee, Victoria, and Piccadilly line) and Piccadilly Circus stations (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines) are all ten minutes’ walk away.

Visitors are being asked to arrive 15 minutes before their ticketed time slot to ensure entry. Late-comers might not be able to see the show.


Curmudgeon Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph and the bulldozers from TimeOut both give the installation the lowest possible rating of 1 out of 5. Most newspapers and magazines seem to have ignored the installation entirely so far. At least our friends from The Londonist call it an ‘unmissable exhibition’.


We are no fans of dumbed-down pseudo-art manufactured for the instagrammer crowd. Yes, it’s true, Silent Fall is very easy on the eye and it is a lot of fun to immerse yourself in it.


Does this mean that it’s dumb and meaningless? We looked at some of the other art A A Murakami have produced and find their approach thoughtful, interesting, and consistent. 5 out of 5 from us.

Looking for more posts about art and culture? Feel welcome to eyeball our notes about Frieze Sculpture 2022, Sculpture In The City 2022, Frameless, the immersive art experience, Frieze London 2021, Mixing It Up at the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, and JR Chronicles at Saatchi Gallery.

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  1. The A.A. Murakami experience at Superblue sounds fascinating. It would be fun to catch the bubbles. But I am a bit sensitive to fragrance so I might limit my visit. Definitely a good Instagram opportunity but great to know you felt it was much more than that.

    1. Oh wow, that looks so surreal I love the concept of it! Thanks for sharing, guys. It’s the first I’ve heard of it and something I’m sure we’d enjoy checking it out. Was it really busy when you visited? What’s the space like inside?

      Your photos are sensational too! So very atmospheric ❤️

      1. Great to hear that you like it as much as we do, Russell. It wasn’t crowded at all when we went. Our pics pretty much show all the space inside from a few different angles. It looks much bigger because of the mirrors. The space felt like underground vaults beneath a castle and very atmospheric. Thank you for the compliment about the photos. 🙂

    2. Thank you, Linda. Yup, Ellie and I really enjoyed the installation and we didn’t feel that it was just shallow eyecandy for the gram. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. It looks really fun! And who doesn’t like bubbles? The fragrance-releasing thing just makes me hope there’s no old-lady perfume like lilac or lily of the valley 😉 The critics may have given it a pass, but you’re better critics in my book!

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