Hiroshi Takeda
武田 浩志

Portraits without the portrayed ones distinguishes the art of Hiroshi Takeda. By now, the artist has brought hundreds of people into the picture without even one of them really existing. Consequently, the artist numbers his portraits instead of giving them names of fictitious people. Takeda's portraits resemble more an experiment than the likeness of people. The artist tests techniques and possibilities of expression by taking human general outlines as their pretext. But these portraits lack one thing: the face. Rarely do eyes look at you, never all the sensory organs that characterize the human face. Sometimes the people depicted also cover the face, as if there were one, but not to be shown.

What dominates, however, is the half-length portrait with its formal basic elements of the upper body, arms and hands, head and hair. Often it is the female hairstyles that suggest that the persons portrayed are women. But even that is not certain. With his portraits, Hiroshi Takeda feels obliged to a Japanese tradition of painting. Exemplary for him is the name of Ôgata Kôrin (1658-1716), whose works are partly composed of regularly recurring patterns and forms. And he used techniques that, similar to Takeda's, played with irregularities, with porous, less homogenous-looking colors. Thus convention and innovation enter into a mutual and reciprocal game. Hiroshi Takeda's art stands in this tradition of autonomous painting, which uses both: a predetermined vocabulary of forms and a materiality of color and substance – A materiality which constantly reformulates that vocabulary.


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