Jiro Takamatsu. Space in two dimensions

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/66770-jiro-takamatsu-space-in-two-dimensions

Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present a third solo exhibition
by pioneering Japanese artist Jiro Takamatsu opening on 17 September
2021. This presentation examines a body of work from the late 1970s and
early 1980s, a fertile period of Takamatsu’s practice, and is on view
during Frieze London.

Using the core principles devised in his earlier ‘Compound’ series to
develop his formal methodologies in the two-dimensional realm,
Takamatsu embarked on the ‘Space in Two Dimensions’ series in the
late 1970s. Characterised by geometric patterns of interlocking lines and
shapes or schematic drawings, the artist allowed the flat picture plane
to dictate the form. Takamatsu described his process and motivation
behind the series as follows: ‘I made these works with only a compass
and a ruler. The lines I drew from the edge of the canvas and the curves
I made with the compass at the point of contact made it seem as if the
canvas was depicting the canvas.’ These artworks were not intended to
represent a space, but rather create one, as the artist sought to manifest
a world beyond our everyday reality.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is ‘Space in Two Dimensions
No.1057’ from 1982, in which the artist challenges the existing orthodoxy
of works devoid of representation. Takamatsu portrays geometric
shapes and lines in contrasting colours of fuchsia pink and blue on the
canvas. By eliminating one solid plane, the artist reintroduces another,
conveying an object’s ability to transition from two to three dimensions.

Also on view are pencil and gouache on watercolour paper drawings
from the ‘Space in Two Dimensions’ series in which Takamatsu boldly
uses complementary colours or minimal black on white to construct
striking compositions. These works are distinguished by opaque paint
deftly applied over sections of the paper to produce dense areas of flat
colour. The artist’s pencil marks are meticulously drawn and play on
notions of perspective. It is tempting to see these paintings and
drawings through the lens of western abstraction and minimalism, as
they recall work by Mondrian and Albers. However, Takamatsu’s works
come out of a unique intrinsic Japanese vision and despite the apparent
order of form and colour, they are born out of the artist’s highly
intellectual process.

Another highlight is ‘The Poles and Space No.964’ from 1980, an early
and important large-scale work from a series that Takamatsu began in
1979 and continued until 1998. In this geometric configuration, the
rectangular parallel wooden planes and lines open up to cut into the
space they inhabit, making multiple connections that challenge our
idea of a singular point of perspective. The process of dissecting and
dividing a three-dimensional object to the point that it infiltrates the
surrounding space has a direct link to the earlier ‘Compound’ series
and bears a close connection to the core principles of minimal art. This
is crucial to understanding the working methods of an artist, who
believed that ‘process must always be advanced’.

Takamatsu’s engaged consistently with ideas on substance, reality,
language and space throughout his career. Dedicating his life’s work to
the progress of artistic innovation, Jiro Takamatsu became one of the
most internationally acclaimed artists of the period, developing a new
aesthetic that paved the way for many younger generations.

Jiro Takamatsu was born in 1936, Tokyo, Japan, and died in 1998. After
finishing studies in oil painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine
Arts and Music in 1958, Takamatsu worked in a range of media,
including sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, and performance.
His practice combined aspects of Dada and Surrealism with an
idiosyncratic use of minimalism’s refined visual language. Like Japan’s
Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai (Gutai Art Association, 1954-72), Takamatsu
created public interventions or activities outside the confines of
exhibition spaces. With artists Genpei Akasegawa and Natsuyuki
Nakanishi, Takamatsu formed the collective Hi Red Center (1963-64),
carrying out actions in Tokyo to call attention to issues faced in the
post-war urban context. Takamatsu is also widely associated with
Mono-Ha (School of Things, 1967-79), seeking to ‘reveal the world as it
is’ through gesture, action, process and experimentation, rather than
formal studio-based methods or finished artworks.

Having represented Japan at the Venice Biennale (1968), exhibited at
the Paris Biennial (1969), the São Paulo Biennial (1973) and Documenta
6, Kassel (1977), Takamatsu was the subject of major retrospectives at
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2014) and The National
Museum of Modern Art, Osaka (2015). These two exhibitions were
curated from different perspectives and offered a comprehensive
overview of the artist’s oeuvre. He was the subject of the major solo
exhibition ‘Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture’ at the Henry
Moore Institute, Leeds, in 2017. Takamatsu’s work also featured
prominently in the exhibition ‘Jiro Takamatsu, Hi Red Center, Hirata
Minoru, Kim Ku Lim’ at David Roberts Art Foundation, London, in
2018. The artist’s work was presented in a two-person exhibition,
‘Inside/Out: Jiro Takamatsu & Keiji Uematsu in Conversation’ at the
Royal Society of Sculptors, London in 2019.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/66770-jiro-takamatsu-space-in-two-dimensions