Kenta Takahashi’s minimalist paintings pare away all that is unnecessary from the canvas and employ the granules of traditional mineral pigments in a way that resembles collections of digital pixels, opening new pathways of expression and challenging the potential limits of Nihonga.

The paintings on display in this exhibition are composed mainly of silver leaf, evoking the metal plating that forms the core of urban infrastructure. Against that backdrop, lines dance across the canvas in a manner reminiscent of street art.

Ubiquitous on the walls of our cities, graffiti can only be interpreted by those immersed in the culture of the alleyways that host it, making it function as a sort of indigenous code to some and appear as mere obscenity to everyone else. By rendering motifs in the graffiti style using the traditional materials of Japanese painting, the artist has created works that may prompt viewers to reevaluate the meaning of Nihonga in its present form.

Save The City
Natural mineral pigment, silver leaf on hemp


“Save as” is the conceptual core of my practice and an element common to all of my artworks. That which is “saved” is the ever-changing world that floats on the currents of time, along with the memories that accompany it, the remains of fading traditions, and, perhaps, the hearts of myself and others.

With the “city” series, I aim to capture Japan from a global perspective by combining graffiti-like calligraphic strokes with the checkered plates that emerge after lining the canvas with silver leaf, simultaneously “saving” contemporary society and “connecting” it to Japanese culture. As contemporary society continues to diversify, it becomes more difficult for individuals to construct an identity, but that is exactly why I am interested in cities as collections of individuals. The spraying of graffiti on public property may be a crime, but in the way its practitioners call attention to and attempt to preserve their existence within society, are they not the same as all creators?

Cities are overwritten in real time and history continues to compile. By chance, I am in a position to present my artworks for posterity and, as such, I save them under a separate filename.

14/02/2022(mon) -  28/02/2022(mon)

※ Open by appointment only on Saturdays.
※ Closed on Sundays and holidays.

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