Jiro Takamatsu - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Monday, June 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    From Jiro Takamatsu’s most iconic body of work, Shadow (No. 1430), demonstrates the artist’s inimitable ability to shape the impossibilities of time and space. In his Shadow Paintings series, which he commenced in 1964 and continued until his death in 1998, Takamatsu explored the origins of painting. Inspired by the shadows found in 19th century Japanese woodcut prints, the minimalist composition presents the viewer with Takamatsu’s trompe l’oeil; the two-toned intersecting silhouette forming a conceptual portrait. Two corresponding figures, in different shades of grey, intersect at the centre of the composition, suggesting multiple light sources overhead. Throughout Takamatsu’s celebrated body of work shadows appear on white walls, uneven surfaces or planks of wood; the sitter is not present, it is their silhouette that dominates the composition. The absence of the subject is transformed into a tangible though invisible figure. Commenting on the impossibility of capturing the entirety of a subject, Takamatsu noted: ‘no matter how tiny an object might be, when we humans have a relationship with it, that relationship becomes multilateral and multidimensional, wherein we can get in touch with its totality….humans can never have a completely total relationship with a thing or comprehend its totality’ (Jiro Takamatsu, quoted in, ‘Zentaisei nit suite,’ GQ, no. 2, January 1973, p. 48). Presenting the viewer with the memory of an object or sitter, the artist masterfully challenges the orthodoxy of representational painting.

    First rising to prominence in Tokyo during the 1960s, Takamatsu formed the renowned and experimental Neo-Dada group Hi-Red Center together with Genpei Akasegawa and Natsuyuki Nakanishi. Combining Dadaism, Surrealism and Minimalism, the artist worked across photography, painting, sculpture, drawing and performance to consistently challenge the formal, material and philosophical notions of artistic creation. The present work exemplifies Takamatsu’s unchallenged ability to conjure emotion through nostalgia. Harnessing intangible properties, such as perspective and shadows, Takamatsu masterfully transforms the metaphorical and material into his artwork.


Shadow (No. 1430)

signed, numbered and dated 'JIRO TAKAMATSU 1997 No. 1430' on the reverse
acrylic on linen
181.6 x 227.2 cm (71 1/2 x 89 1/2 in.)
Painted in 1989/1997.

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £125,000

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 26 June 2018