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Takeshi TAKANO
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: December 14 2009

fig. 1 "G-flower garden" (2009); ink and oil on wood, 65.2×53cm, courtesy of the artist, copyright © Ken TAKANO

1. Taking a picture
2. Outputting it to film using an ink-jet printer (ink does not dry since it is not absorbed by film)
3. Decaling the film to a support, such as a panel and paper, with a small amount of water
4. The air is generated between the support and film
5. The air comes out of the space between the support and film and remains on the film as white spots
6. A number of patterns which look like drops of water appear on the film

    At first, we are faced with the following question. How should we categorize the creations made by Takeshi Takano (b. 1980) according to the process described above [fig. 1]? They can be classified as both photographs and prints. Nevertheless, no replicative feature, which is the element of both photos and print art, can be found in Takano’s works. This is because Takano’s decaling technique never generates the completely same forms even though the same pictures are used since he utilizes a lot of contingency beyond his control in creating works.

    In terms of this, the characteristic of Takano’s creating technique can be said to be similar to that of decalcomania. Just like automatism (automatic writing), decalcomania, in which unconscious was valued, was popular among the Surrealists and has been known in Japan for having been practiced by the art critic, Shuzo Takiguchi (1903-1979) in his old age, who introduced Surrealism into Japan, . In other words, creations which were composed of unpredictable colors and shapes generated by decaling paints on one support to another were welcomed by Surrealists in that they were created beyond an artists’ intention - subconsciously. Nonetheless, it may be considered that a historical background made Surrealists intend to rid artworks of consciousness. Surrealists, such as André Breton, had a keen interest in, and made remarks about the field of politics. They may have considered automatism and decalcomania as a kind of weapon to be used to ecape from some kind of ideology. In fact, it has been revealed that automatism was not an act which was entirely due to the contingency, but even though this was true, there would be no doubt that Surrealists expected the high possibility of eventuality and involuntariness to be used as methods to fight against reality.

fig. 2 View from Takeshi Takano Exhibition at Omote-sando Gallery, photo by Tsukasa Matsuzaki, courtesy of the artist

fig. 3 View from Takeshi Takano Exhibition at Omote-sando Gallery, photo by Tsukasa Matsuzaki, courtesy of the artist

    On the other hand, Takano’s works were not made with the same intentions as those mentioned above. This is because there is no direct relationship between his creations and real-world politics. Rather, Takano’s creating method seems to be employed with the aim of expressing an ambiguous relationship between his works and the actual world. Various colors and shapes would have been mixed with each other randomly when they were decaled on film. In any of his works, no clear image can be found and viewers feel as if they are looking at each exhibit though a filter covered with something like water drops [fig. 2] [fig. 3]. Therefore, most exhibits make it difficult for us to grasp what is depicted in them. Indeed, looking at them closely, we come to notice that Takano depicts scenes, including people and landscapes, which he often sees in his daily life. Personally however, I can find only vague images of subjects in his creations. In terms of this, Takano’s awareness of issues is completely opposite to that of the Surrealists who may have assumed the existence of enemies. Nevertheless, from a different point of view, today, Takano’s conscious should be considered more realistic than that of the Surrealists.

    These days, there seems to be increasing number of people who have only ambiguous relations with their surroundings in the real world in spite of disclosing their personal information in real time without hesitation due to the prevalence of various kinds of Internet services, including blogs, SNS and Twitter. In Takano’s works, such contemporary social trends were reflected on the unforeseen paintings which incidentally appeared on film in the creating process based on photographs which Takano had taken intentionally. Therefore, Takano’s creations can be considered as transcriptions of current social situations. His works seem to tell us that it is also valuable for us to consider the fragility and beauty of vague images of relationships between ourselves and our surroundings in the real world.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Last Updated on November 02 2015

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