Jiro Takamatsu

Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles / United States

January 26, 2016

January 30–March 26, 2016

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S La Brea Ave 
Los Angeles, CA 90019 


Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to announce our forthcoming exhibition of work by Jiro Takamatsu. This will be the first solo exhibition by Japanese artist, Jiro Takamatsu (1936–98), with a gallery in the greater Los Angeles area. The exhibition will include a monumental sculptural work, Rusty Ground, originally exhibited in Documenta 6 (1977), a selection of paintings from the “Shadow” series, a large number of drawings from categorically different stages in the artist’s career, as well as photographs. 

Jiro Takamatsu’s career spanned over forty years, during which time his considerable influence extended as an artist, theorist and teacher in Japanese postwar culture. He represented Japan at the Venice Biennale (Carlo Cardazzo Price, 1968); exhibited at the Paris Biennial (1969); São Paulo Biennial (1973); and Documenta 6, Kassel (1977). Most recently, Takamatsu has been the subject of major retrospectives in Japan, staged at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2014) and The National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka (2015). These two exhibitions were curated from differing perspectives and offered a comprehensive overview of the artist’s oeuvre. This exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran offers a timely re-evaluation of Takamatsu’s practice following significant reviews of Japanese avant-garde art across the globe. 

In the early 1960s, Takamatsu co-founded Hi Red Center, an experimental art collective that staged guerrilla style happenings in vibrant gestures of anti-art (known as “han-geijutsu”). Taking place during a period of rapid development in Japan, their actions should be seen in tandem with the international Fluxus movement and as developing from the Japanese Gutai group’s earlier avant-garde manifestos. Takamatsu sought to take art outside of the confines of traditional and institutional settings, collapsing the boundaries between art and life. In the late 1960s, his body of work and its concepts were a major influence to Mono-ha artists (the Japanese “mono” means thing(s) and “ha” means school), who were the generation proceeding Takamatsu. Linking to Arte Povera and Post-Minimalism, Mono-ha celebrated the use of natural materials and objects, emphasizing the importance of materiality and the environment. The artists of Mona-ha presented things as they were, while intending to present ”relations” and “situations” that were formed by these things and the networks between them.

The forty-year trajectory of Takamatsu’s career can and has been organized into categorical series. These classifications are not exclusive from one another and have often been considered simultaneously while in the process of development. For example, “Space in Two-Dimensions” (1977–82), a series prominently represented in this exhibition, was born alongside the conclusion of the “Compound” era (1974–77), and mingled in complex mutual relationships with the series “Space” and “Poles and Space” (1977–82). Well before the “Compound” era, Takamatsu began his exploration into the philosophical depths of absence as a state of pure potentiality. In this phase, the artist began his use of the shadow as source material. Early “Shadow” era works began in 1964 and the exploration continued throughout the artist’s life. 

Takamatsu’s practice, rooted in vast philosophical origins, shifts across appearance and materials sometimes making it difficult to discern. He worked to create relationships between objects and languages fixed to the real existence and the psychological form of existence. His work, in the end, was a search for his own existence through the medium of his art.