KOTARO NUKAGA is pleased to announce Kyoji Takubo’s solo exhibition “Camélia” from April 17 to June 5. In this solo exhibition, we will be showcasing 13 pieces of cut-outs that dynamically expresses yabutsubaki (Japanese camellia)
*Mariko Kobayashi “Stories that went Over” will be held concurrently.
During his college years at Tama Art University (painting course), he presented his solo exhibition “Image Judgement” which drew his attention as an artist representing the Post Mono-ha generation. After making OBELISK (1979), a piece portraying marks of physical actions, he moved on to creating assemblage works such as Argo (1983) using scrap materials, and in 1984 he announced works of the same series at 41st Venice Biennale as the Japanese representative. Also, his works expanded to architectural practices; A Day ― Layers of Time I・II (1987) which was made open public at Setagaya Art Museum, was an artwork where he reconstructed his atelier in the museum.
Takubo’s turning point was in Absolute Scene 1987, a workpiece where he carefully tore down two old houses, which were planned to be destroyed due to redevelopment, whilst leaving its post and beam. On the floor, he laid glass panels to allow viewers to walk inside, and after this process, he tore down all parts of the houses. Whilst the house disappeared from our daily landscape, the memory of it was archived by the photographer, Shigeo Anzai. This art project was a collaboration between Ryoji Suzuki (architect) and Anzai, and this started to make Takubo’s major work as reformation projects.
In the same period, he was attracted to an abandoned chapel when visiting Normandy, France, and became the supervisor of its renovation project for 11 years. He covered jobs from fund-raising to actual work at the chapel, and created the mural painting whilst crossing over linguistic and cultural boundaries; and by this continuous collaboration between the local people, the project was completed in 1999. The chapel, loved among the local people, was highly applauded for its remarkable success, and Takubo received the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Minister of Culture.
After returning to Japan in 2000, he became the official cultural advisor of Konpira-san Shrine in Kagawa prefecture and started the renovation project of Kotohirayama. After Honden Zenza-sai (a ceremony for transferring the deity to another shrine) in 2004, Takubo drew yabutsubaki with a strong touch on a fusuma of Shiro-shoin, and also undertook the architectural design and mural painting of café&restaurant Kami Tsubaki. He has been showing the vitality of historical places with magnificent scale and is still actively producing new artworks. Takubo thinks a world where all creatures live in prosperity will be completed by creating ‘Landscape Art’ ―the reborn landscape made by combining and converting other elements together, whilst human beings and other creatures coexist with respect. No matter if the artist finishes the artwork or not, ‘Landscape Art’ continues to stay as the place of expression.
A Cut-out of a Tsubaki
Our common interest in “light” and “color” became a major element after Modern Art, especially through Newton’s Optics and Goethe’s Theory of Colors. There were new painting methods by Delacroix and Turner, Manet and Monet, as well as the unique approach to “color” by Cézanne, Matisse, and Mondrian.
Today, embodying “color” to “light”, or “light” to “color” as a whole, has become the common method because of technological changes. I was especially influenced by Matisse’s methods in his last half of life, such as ‘the Cut-Outs’, where he cut and pasted colored paper, and The Rosary Chapel where he created harmony between colors and lights, by letting the light strike into the room through the colored stained-glass, and reflect on floors, walls (tile painting), and ceilings. So for my practices of ‘Landscape Art’, I made The Chapel of Apple in France, Kami Tsubaki in Konpira-san Shrine, and a mural mosaic made by natural stones at the University of Sacred Heart, Le Pommier d’or (The Golden Apple), done in 2017. Through these works, I discovered the central images “apple”, “yabutsubaki” and “golden apple”, for each particular landscape, and now, I am moving towards a new ‘Landscape Art’ *.
A Paper-cutting of a Tsubaki in this exhibition, is the first image of this new ‘Landscape Art’.
* “What I am aiming for in ‘Landscape Art’, is a site where expressions stay alive in the future, after the artist’s absence.”
Kyoji Takubo, Sites of Expression (Kodansha Gendai-shinsho, 2003)
In this exhibition, we will be presenting a new series of cut-out in the motif of yabutsubaki. Seto Inland Sea’s unique environment, where he visited during the renovation project of Kotohirayama, was calm because of its warm climate, and islands with gentle ridges. As if responding to this environment, yabutsubaki bloomed with its dignified presence. Takubo says that he read the cultural features of the land from this flower and thought of it as “the flower in its existence with earth and water”; which then became an important material for him. Whilst changing its material and method, this is a motif that appears repeatedly in his works, such as drawings using sepia color, and mosaic made by natural stones. Takubo’s new ‘Landscape Art’ will beautifully raise its curtain with this one and only yabutsubaki.