2020.10.24 Sat - 11.28 Sat




Elicited from her proposition, which examines the process of “how to regard a painting as the amalgamation of the two things — paint, a phantasmagoric material, and canvas, a material with infinite woven structures — and imagine their possible combinations,” Takabatake began her painting practice with fine lines of squeezed oil paint hinged on textile structures while in graduate school. Later on, she developed new artmaking methods by incorporating the physical forces and movement such as blowing off the paints with wind and water pressure. Her practice has been regarded as a scientific and engineering approach as it often engages in experiments based on a hypothesis to establish a pictorial representation of phenomena caused by materials.

Yoriko Takabatake’s tremendous curiosity about the phenomena of our world is undoubtedly the driving force behind her work. In 2018, she presented paintings using water at ShugoArts, followed by a series of artworks in Seoul the next year, utilizing the thermal metamorphosis caused by fire. Both of these exhibitions are based on the act of pursuing the unknown properties of paint through observation. While relying on a scientific approach, Takabatake also manifests her inexhaustible artistic sensibility by regarding water as the source of creation and heat as the birth of life. This gives her art practice more depth that goes beyond the mere repurposing of production techniques and scientific phenomena. Nevertheless, her intuitive expression is not her focal point. Her diligence in bravely attempting to present a new kind of visual art by coalescing evidence into practice is reminiscent of the lineage of artists who sought to integrate the natural sciences and the humanities, from the Italian Renaissance to Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism.


From left to right: Yoriko TAKABATAKE, Venus, burnt and wind PR3, 2019; Venus, heat and press PBk6 PW6 PM1, 2019; Venus, burnt PR3, 2019.
Installation view at ShugoArts Show, 2019


In this exhibition, Takabatake presents a new series based on her examination of magnetism. Inspired by the scorched and charred paints she saw while working on her “fire” series, the artist manipulates Mars Black, an iron oxide pigment with powerful magnetic forces in her artworks. The lines of the paint squeezed onto the canvas come into contact with a magnetic field and are transformed by the attraction and repulsion of the magnetic force. Compared to her previous methods, this technique draws out the innate power of the material instantaneously and unites it while creating a solid picture. This group of artworks ambitiously explores the inside of the surface, while reminding the viewers of the planet MARS (the exhibition title) — characterized by the rocks and sands full of iron oxide spreading on its surface.


Yoriko TAKABATAKE, MARS, 2020, acrylic, pigment, iron sand on canvas, 41x32cm


After placing a magnet underneath the canvas, I make layers of paint lines over the canvas. Due to the invisible magnetic field, the lines are drawn to each other, make arcs and shoot upwards.

—Yoriko Takabatake


Considering the year 2020 so far, it has been a year in which we have been threatened by the invisible presence of the natural world and warned against our stereotypes. Takabatake dispassionately perceives the nature of things that belong to the world itself and probes into its essence while aiming to reach a new plateau of expression guided by her intellectual curiosity. Now seems to be the time for her artistic practice to have a greater meaning in society and illuminate the future of painting. 

September 2020, ShugoArts


Yoriko TAKABATAKE, MARS, 2020 (detail)



Yoriko Takabatake was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1982. Currently lives and works in Tokyo. Takabatake had an opportunity to participate in an artist-in-residence program at Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation in order to undertake her research on Anni Albers while she was a doctoral student at the Tokyo University of the Arts. To put her experience into practice, the artist actively engages with materials, colors and physical structures found in various fields of art and design. Takabatake leaves room for chance within her dialectical artmaking practice while visualizing the process of “making, breaking and remaking” by letting paints interact with “the basic elements” such as wind, water and fire. Such practice is exemplified in her series featuring thread-thin paints overlapping with each other like a net, reproducing a canvas-like structure on canvas. Through her rigorous experiments, contemplation and trials, the artist keeps producing new artworks which open doors for potential new painting expressions.
Selected solo exhibition: Fountain, ShugoArts, Tokyo, 2018; Bathing, ShugoArts Weekend Gallery, Tokyo, 2016; Project N 58 Yoriko Takabatake, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2014; Selected group exhibition: TRICK-DIMENSION, TOKYO FRONT LINE, Tokyo, 2013; Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2013, Tokyo, 2013; DANDANS at No Man’s Land, former French Embassy, Tokyo, 2010



Installation view



Saturday, October 24 – Saturday, November 28, 2020
Venue: ShugoArts, complex665 2F, 6-5-24, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat noon-6pm, closed on Sun, Mon and Public Holidays
*The opening reception will not be held this time.
**Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have shortened our opening hours.

Curated by Minako Ishii