ARTISTS

Kei TAKEMURA

1975
Born in Tokyo, Japan
Lives and works in Takasaki City, Japan
1998
Tokyo University of the Arts, BFA in Painting
2000
Recipient of POLA Art Foundation Grants for Overseas Study by Young Artists
2000-04
Berlin Art Academy (DAAD Scholarship; prof. Lothar Baumgarten), BFA
2002
Tokyo University of the Arts, MFA in Painting
2004-07
Oversea Artistic Researcher of Agency for Cultural Affairs
2008
Awarded a grant from Berlin City Cultural Affairs Department
2009
Awarded grants from the Yoshino Gypsum Art Foundation

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021
‘Floating on the River’, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyot
2019
‘Madeleine. V, Olympic, and my Garden’, Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo)
2018
‘Which Second Is the Most Excited?’, POLA Museum of Art’ (Kanagawa)
2017
Which Year was the Most Beautiful?’, EBESPERGER, Berlin
2016
‘Something falling from the sky’, Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo)
2012
‘Dearest Unknown You’, Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo)
‘Kei Takemura’, Institute of Contemporary Art (Singapore)

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021
DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow, The National Art Center, Tokyo
‘Omoshirogara’, DKM Museum(Duisburg)
2020
Yokohama Triennale 2020, Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa
‘Kengo Kito × Kei Tamura : Go back and fetch me out that doodle-do!, PHILLIPS (Tokyo)
2019
Nagashima Yurie x Takemura Kei “Now ⇆ Then”, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
2014年
Images from Memories/Memories from Images, BankART Studio, NYK 2F Gallery A・ B, Kanagawa
Naka-Boso International Art Festival Ichihara Art x Mix, Tsukide Kousya, Chiba
‘Now Japan―Exhibition with 37 Contemporary Japanese Artists’ , Kunsthal KAdE(Amersfoort, Netherland)

Selected Publications

2019
Nagashima Yurie x Takemura Kei “Now ⇆ Then”, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
2017
PLAYING CARDS, Taka Ishii Gallery
2012
Prosaic Verse, Taka Ishii Gallery

Public Collection

Technik Museum, Berlin
Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art
Takahashi Collection
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art

Article by Meruro Washida (Director of Towada Art Center)
Glow Thread

Takemura was a college student when she started using thread instead of paint. She liked the color cadmium red, but she was hesitant to pour anything with the name “cadmium” down the drain when she washed my brushes. If you apply oil paint with a brush, the paint and the canvas would be attached and never be separated. However, with a thread, it will be easily pulled out without leaving any trace. In contrast to the general image of an artist creating something from nothing, maintaining a certain distance between the canvas and the thread fitted more neatly for Takemura who believed that creating is “merely moving something from one place to the other’

At first, Takemura experimented with cotton thread, a material she was was familiar with, but soon began using silk thread. It started when she first saw Tenjukoku embroidery book that was passed down from the Chuguji Temple in Nara. Even after more than a thousand years, the embroidery thread made in the seventh centurykept its vivid color. She was struck by the fact that the thread, which she had always viewed as a provisional material as indicated by the word “preliminary fit,” had endured a longer test of time than painting. From then on, silk thread became an important material that she had continued to use.

Welcoming the Broken Items

The theme of the Yokohama Triennale to be held in Yokohama this summer is “Catching the Fragments of Light. After seeing her work last year in Tokyo, The LUX Media Collective, a group of Indian artists who will serve as artistic directors, decided to show Takemura’s work using glowing silk threads in the exhibition. They thought that Takemura’s work symbolized their theme.

In the darkened exhibition room of the Yokohama Museum of Art, the venue for the Triennale, glass cases glow like aquarium tanks. Inside the cases are various daily necessities, such as chipped glasses, cracked cups, stuck clocks, and broken toys. Each item is wrapped in a thin, transparent gauze-like cloth. A cloth is barely sewn but one can see the thread that gives a pale glow. The glowing areas are the cracked or broken parts. The cracks are sewn in lines, and the missing parts are sewed as if they are meant to be covering the breakage with thread.

Broken items that were supposed to be thrown away survive for a little while longer as a part of Takemura’s work. Given the title “Restoration Series,” I asked Takemura if she felt the need to “mend” things, like mothersmend a hole in their child’s trouser.

Sewing is often associated with femininity. In fact, it was women who worked in the factories that supported the silk manufacturing industry in Gunma. This is probably because the tactile act of “mending,” which is also associated with care, has been carried out by women.

However, Takemura said that she has no intention of fixing or prolonging the life of items that should have been thrown away. Rather, she said, the word “welcoming” comes close. She welcomes, invites and treats the items that happen to come her way. She has her flow of time, and the items have theirs – and it is like an encounter where both happened to meet. The relationship between Takemura and items is unsentimental, and there is a certain distance between them.

As her work illuminatingthe items, Takemura’s work is closer to photography than to painting. Sewing on glowing threads is similar to shedding a light on the item to take a picture. The light brings out the meaning of things that are otherwise overlooked.

However, in each case, the items themselves were not altered in any way. Even if you are a journalist reporting on a devastating situation, you cannot directly save the subject. Takemura, too, seemed to think that it would be foolish to think that she could change the course of the situations for those items.

The subtle distance between her and the item is expressed as a small gap between the object and the thin transparent cloth that covers it. It is important to clearly separate the sphere where the objects exist in the world from the sphere where the artist intervenes, so that they never intersect. This distinction is consistent with the feeling she had when she first started using thread, that once the thread is removed, it does not affect the original canvas. In this small gap, Takemura’s humility can been seen.

WORKS

Playing Cards with Memorial Scene/ Clubs 7 and Birthday Party

Playing Cards with Memorial Scene/ Clubs 7 and Birthday Party

Japanese silk thread, synthetic cloth and color print on cloth

1,150x1,000 mm

2017

880,000 JPY (w/ tax) * without frame

Locale : 3F ⑫


Comments by the artist:

Playing cards are key communication tool for Takemura. Taking playing cards from various countries and eras, she stitches over them the designs of cards from other countries and eras, in a continued endeavor to tie together different ages and cultures. Playing cards are produced and used all around the world, and can thus be a tool for connecting with people across languages and cultures.


Time Counter

Time Counter

Gumma silk thread, fluorescent silk thread and silk cloth

545x380 mm

2021

* SOLD

Locale : 2F ⑪


Time Counter

Time Counter

Gunma sil thread, fluarescent silk thread and silk cloth

460x365 mm

2021

* SOLD

Locale : 2F ⑥


Time Counter

Time Counter

Gumma silk thread, fluorescent silk thread and silk cloth

460x365 mm

2021

* SOLD

Locale : 2F ⑦

Inquiry about the work