If you’re going to jump into post-war Japanese art, Jiro Takamatsu is both the best and worst place to start. While highly influential, the Japanese artist, who combined elements of Dadaism, Surrealism and Minimalism, created works that were conceptual – often cerebral – to the point of turning you off. As part of the collective Hi Red Center, Takamatsu flung the contents of a suitcase off the rooftop of a famous ikebana school’s headquarters. The artist was also charged with counterfeiting – he was subsequently found guilty – for creating one-sided reproductions of a thousand yen note.
Curator Yuri Matsuda summed it up best when she characterized the encounter of one’s real shadow with a painted shadow as the “peter pan point.”
“The exhibition opens with the ‘shadow laboratory’ says Torafu Architects, who were tasked with staging a lofty exhibition space where visitors could wander through Takamatsu’s legacy.
Inspired by images of shadows in 19th-century Japanese painting and woodcuts, Takamatsu created his Shadow Painting series in enamel and acrylic. The shadow paintings are surreal and seductive. Curator Yuri Matsuda summed it up best when she characterized the encounter of one’s real shadow with a painted shadow as the “peter pan point.”
Visitors are then led into the main exhibition space where structural columns of varying widths delineate the landscape.
Finally, visitors reach the last section where a hidden stage is located at the center of the venue. Designed to be reminiscent of Takamatsu’s studio, all the works can be viewed as a collective whole. Quotes from the artist are also displayed. “The size of the stage symbolically echoes Takamatsu’s sphere of creation since its dimensions match that of the studio where he worked during his active period,” says the architects.
“Jiro Takamatsu: Mysteries” runs through March 1, 2015.