Koichiro Takagi has garnered attention for works which take anthropomorphised animals as their motif, using a variety of methods such as embroidery, painting, and stencil. MAKI Gallery is pleased to present the artist's first solo exhibition, Infinite Light, on the second floor of our gallery space in Omotesando (Tokyo).
On the one hand, the artist's motifs include large animals such as tigers, bears and wolves which might at times be considered sacred messengers or become the subject of religious worship. On the other hand, more winsome animals like squirrels, monkeys and cats also make their appearance. There are also creatures that bear their teeth menacingly, threatening the viewer like a street gang member. Whether they are intimidating or cute, holy or vulgar, both extremes are present in the artist's work, drawing the viewer into the artist's unique worldview.
The somewhat unsettling effect of his works calls forth a sense of doubt in the viewer – toward the social structures and systems that had been hitherto taken for granted, as well as the people who maintain them. Perhaps the artist's works are so intriguing precisely because this very contemporary viewpoint has secretly been stitched into them.
Takagi's recent works have become larger in scale, the motifs have been placed in an exquisite compositional balance, phrases rich in allusion have been embroidered, and a deeper narrative quality has emerged. Viewing these works is almost like reading medieval liturgical texts. In fact, the artist was born into a Catholic family and attended a Catholic school. Influenced by his older brother, he became an avid fan of hardcore punk and familiarised himself with American street culture. The sacred and the profane coexist in the artist himself.
This exhibition will present the artist's works from the past to his newest pieces. His latest work, My Eyes Turned Skywards, feature a bird as its motif. The bird, a goose, appears inspired, about turn toward the sky and take flight (even though geese cannot fly). Perhaps the exhibition title, Infinite Light, refers to where the goose is headed. It is as if the artist, who envisions an ideal world in which the qualities of both extremes exist in perfect balance, is suggesting that heading for the positive is no bad thing, precisely because the world is as it is. We invite you to view Takagi's works, in which the animals act out their light and their darkness, each within their own stories.
Press release courtesy of MAKI.