Tomoko Takagi: Today feels a lot like yesterday

2021.11.13 [sat] - 12.18 [sat] 11:00-18:00 *Saturdays -17:00 *Closed on Sun, Mon and national holidays *Artist will be present on Nov. 13, 25, 27

We are proud to present a solo exhibition by Tomoko Takagi. It is her first at ARTCOURT gallery.

Takagi’s use of overflowing color makes the viewer want to unconsciously reach out and touch the uneven surface of her paintings. Her motifs seem decipherable but only reveal themselves upon closer examination. The simple inquiry, “what exactly am I (or you) looking at,” is always in the background of her works. There is a mismatch lurking between her subject and her perception, a contradiction found in paintings where the image and the materiality of the paint work together to conceive while at the same time inhibiting each other. This overlap shapes her artistic world where “what seems to be evident is not” and “what seems to be disconnected is unified.”

Until now, Takagi’s principal motifs have been scenes that others have created: the garden decor of a private home, the display window of a tobacco shop, or scenes from her travels. Due to the ambivalence Takagi feels between the perplexing nature of the world that heavily reflects the tastes of others and the mysterious gravitation that draws her to it, for her, the act of seeing is like a pendulum swinging between her determination to see without excess and her desire to see only what she wants. Through the act of painting, she intervenes in her thoughts in the extreme otherness of the motif. To paint, Takagi visualizes the perplexing nature of her subject which becomes amplified by the oscillation between objectivity and subjectivity. Ultimately, it is an act of determining the distance between herself and the world.

For this exhibition, Takagi has set her sights on scenes that change little by little every day, and things that are categorized under the same name but are slightly different. Due to the pandemic, her focus has shifted to the ‘similarities and differences’ that shape the world around us, and to the succession of ‘todays that feel a lot like yesterday.’ We will present a group of her works experimenting with these new motifs and a new installation method. In this new expression, she does not objectify or assimilate to herself the subjective world that dwells inside of the motifs themselves. It is almost as if she is trying to hold hands while keeping her distance which may invoke a type of precariousness.

It is impossible to understand or see everything in the world. Perhaps it is more accurate to say what we can understand and see is preponderantly limited. After accepting that difference between herself and the world, the reciprocity that connotes change between subject and self will continue. We must face that fragmented world that bubbles on that limited surface of contact. Through this exhibition, I hope that we can share the gaze of Takagi who endeavors to grasp what it means to live.


Tomoko Takagi