Hisachika Takahashi Annotated by Yuki Okumura: Memory of Past and Future Memory
Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents Hisachika Takahashi annotated by Yuki Okumura: Memory of Past and Future Memory, which presents a continuation of the collaboration between the younger and older Japanese artists, following their joint project during Okumura’s residency at WIELS in 2013. Focusing on Takahashi’s work and life, as annotated by Okumura’s gestures, the exhibition revolves around how memory can go beyond personal identities and material realities. Furthermore, the show also delves into questions surrounding authorship, the production of art, and the exhibition format.
Both artists address reality, authorship and collaboration in different ways. Often taking memory as a starting point for collaboration, Takahashi approaches how our personal vision and relations to others impact our interpretation and connection to reality. In many ways it reflects his personal life, in which interactions with other artists have been integral since the mid-60s. Okumura on the other hand looks at how language shapes our interpersonal and social realities. Often referencing to other artists’ work, his artistic position resembles that of a translator, ghostwriter, editor, or curator. Both artists’ approaches merge into one in the show.
The starting point of the show is Okumura’s intervention on a fragment of a 1969 painting by Takahashi, which he had first given to Robert Rauschenberg. Takahashi has gifted the fragment to Okumura and invited him to collaborate beyond space and time. Both Takahashi’s act of gifting the fragment and Okumura’s response in approaching the story and history behind it, rather than the painting itself, indicate the artistic attitudes that run throughout the show.
Serving as an “annotation” in the whole narration of the show is Okumura’s new video work. It presents his dialogue with Daniel Baumann (chief curator of Kunsthalle Zurich). In response to Baumann’s blog post titled "Who is Hisachika Takahashi?," Okumura attempts to re-enact Takahashi’s practice in the form of an interview, in which memorizing someone else’s memory plays a critical role.
On view on the back wall of the gallery is Takahashi’s work 3015 Calendar. In 1972, Takahashi transferred images from various readymade calendars of that year onto 12 sheets of large paper, in order to make a calendar for the year 2000. He was inspired to do so by the fact that the year 2000 would be the first year in the future to have the same calendar as 1972. Takahashi returned to the work in 2015 and used the paper to create another calendar that applies to one thousand years in the future. This time, Takahashi parleys with his fantasy that he will be still alive, at 1075 years old. The twelve drawings will be complete in collaboration with the viewer, who fantasizes his or her future appointments.
The exhibition continues in the Bakery with Memory of No Memory, a serial project executed by Takahashi in 1973, dedicated to his beloved red hunting hat, which he replaced every six months from July 1970 through June 1976. Created by means of frottage with pencil and crayon, each drawing affectionately and variously portrays his past, present, or future red hat, which he had or would have worn, lost, found, misplaced, and replaced time and again.
Through the layers of different interactions and re-interpretations, the exhibition is overall a show about human life and creativity, established by past and future memory. By posing the question who we are and what our (shared) memories mean over time Hisachika Takahashi annotated by Yuki Okumura: Memory of Past and Future Memory posits that mortality or individuality does not always have to be the final answer.
Hisachika Takahashi was born in 1940 in Tokyo and he currently lives and works in Vermont and Paris. Selected solo exhibitions include shows at Wide White Space in Antwerp, 112 Greene Street (later renamed White Columns) in New York, Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa, Project Room of WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels and Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. He has participated in group exhibitions in several museums and institutions, such as Museum of Modern Art in New York and Musee Galliera in Paris among others. He had also been an assistant of Robert Rauschenberg from 1969 to 2008.
Yuki Okumura was born in 1978 in Aomori and he currently lives and works in Brussels and Maastricht. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at MISAKO & ROSEN in Tokyo, HEDAH in Maastricht and Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in Aichi. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in museums and institutes, such as WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and DiverseWorks in Houston, among others. He also works as a translator between Japanese and English in the field of contemporary art.