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Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture

13 July – 22 October 2017

Release date: Tuesday, 13 June 2017

    This summer the Henry Moore Institute presents the first institutional solo exhibition of Jiro Takamatsu to take place outside his home country of Japan.

    “Takamatsu was the most important post-war artist in Japan, and brought sculpture into people's daily lives. His work interrogates the way we understand the world, and has resonance with many artists working today. We are delighted to present his first ever solo exhibition in a museum outside of Japan.”

    Godfrey Worsdale, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation

    Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture celebrates the work of this leading figure of post-war art. Through over seventy sculptures, drawings and documents loaned from collections in Japan, USA and Europe, the exhibition traces Takamatsu’s artistic practice through his exhibition history, focusing on works from the early 1960s to the late 1970s.

    The exhibition shows Takamatsu’s participation in landmark international exhibitions, such as Venice Biennale (1968) and Documenta 6 (1977), and contributions to exhibitions in Japan where experimental practices flourished, including the annual Yomiuri Indépendant (1958-63), Tokyo Biennial: Between Man and Matter (1970) and Expo ’70, Osaka (1970).

    Jiro Takamatsu (1936-98) is central to the development of post-war art in Japan. Having trained as a painter, Takamatsu turned to sculpture in 1961. For the following three decades he explored the nature of perception. Sometimes his materials were everyday objects, such as bottles, cloth, string, stones and furniture. At other times they had a strong association to sculptural traditions, such as marble, wood and concrete. Significantly, Takamatsu also used abstract concepts as his material, working with shadows and perspective. In 1971 he captured the shadows of passers-by on construction walls, and in 1970 he made perspective something that could be touched at Expo ’70, the 1970 world’s fair in Osaka.

    In 1964 Takamatsu co-founded Hi-Red Center, an artist collective that brought satirical and humorous actions into the daily life of Tokyo - streets were scrubbed clean with toothbrushes on the occasion of the 1964 Olympics, bags were dropped off high-rise buildings and commuter train routes were interrupted by sculptural events. Takamatsu described that this experience ‘engrained in me a habit of questioning, shaking up, and removing everything surplus to the assumptions behind whatever I was creating.’ This principle would remain a guide to his sculptural practice. The Temperature of Sculpture pays attention to the ways Takamatsu rethought how art can be a part of everyday life and encouraged us to become more aware of the mechanics of our perception.

    “Jiro Takamatsu rethought the possibilities of sculpture, and The Temperature of Sculpture shows how he reframed sculpture for a new age. It has been an honour to work with his estate in Tokyo. This exhibition demonstrates how important the radical art of Japan in the 1960s and 70s is to our understanding of sculpture today, opening a new route for sculpture studies. Here at the Henry Moore Institute our vision is to follow our founder Henry Moore’s wishes to introduce people to the power of international sculpture. Takamatsu is crucial in this story.”

    Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute


    Notes to editors:

    1. The Henry Moore Institute is dedicated to celebrating sculpture. It is open seven days a week with free entry to all.  The Institute is an international research centre located in the vibrant city of Leeds, where Henry Moore began his training as a sculptor. The Institute’s iconic building hosts a year-round changing programme of historical, modern and contemporary exhibitions presenting sculpture from across the world.

      Each year the Institute hosts over a hundred powerful discussions, bringing the brightest thinkers together to share ideas. The Institute is a hub for sculpture, connecting a global network of artists and scholars. As a part of the Henry Moore Foundation, an independent arts charity, it is the Institute’s mission to bring people together to think about why sculpture matters.
    2. Jiro Takamatsu was born in the Mitaka district of Tokyo in 1936, and died in 1998. He graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1958, turning his attention to sculpture in 1961. Between 1968 and 1972 Takamatsu taught at Tama Art University, where his students would become central protagonists in the development of Mono-ha. Directly translated as ‘School of Things’, Mono-Ha spanned 1968 to 1975 and positioned Japan as a central, rather than peripheral, location in the narrative of international radical artistic practice.
    3. Takamatsu participated in landmark international group exhibitions, including Venice Biennale (1968), Tokyo Biennial: Between Man and Matter (1970), Osaka Expo (1970), Guggenheim International (1971), São Paolo Biennial (1973) and Documenta (1977). His work has been seen in Yorkshire once before in the Fourth British International Print Biennale at Cartwright Hall, Bradford (1974). His prizes include the Carlo Cardozzo Prize at the 34th Venice Biennale (1968), and the Group Prize at the 6th Biennale de Paris (1969).
    4. Takamatsu participated in the annual Yomiuri Independent between 1958 and 1963, a non-juried exhibition that was central in developing experimental artistic practice. Recently, retrospectives of Takamatsu’s work have been seen across Japan: Universe of His Thoughts, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo (2004), Takamatsu: Mysteries, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2014) and Jiro Takamatsu: Trajectory of Work, National Museum of Art, Osaka (2015).
    5. Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture is curated Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute.
    6. Takamatsu’s Estate is managed by Yumiko Chiba. The artist is co-represented by Yumiko Chiba Associates (Tokyo), Stephen Friedman Gallery (London) and Fergus McCaffrey (New York).
    7. Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture is accompanied by a series of talks and events led by sculpture scholars.
    8. Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio with essays by Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute), Itaru Hirano (The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama) and newly translated texts on sculpture by Jiro Takamatsu.
    9. Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture is supported by The Japan Foundation, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, as well as Yumiko Chiba Associates, who manage the Takamatsu Estate, Stephen Friedman Gallery (London) and Fergus McCaffrey (New York).

    Venue details

    Venue address

    Henry Moore Institute
    The Headrow
    LS1 3AH
    United Kingdom
    T: 0113 246 7467

    Opening times

    Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

    Research Library: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday, 1 - 5pm
    Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment