Hirofumi Takemoto’s portraits depict female figures inspired by Kitagawa Utamaro’s ukiyo-e prints. However, Hirofumi Takemoto creates a new image by following these famous traditional models and applying a new technique, acrylic on canvas. Takemoto’s intention is to express the relationship between Japanese culture and the Western cultural world. The use of Western techniques to reproduce Japanese models shows the artistic and cultural syncretism present in his work.
His reflection is based on the centre-periphery theory developed by Masao Yamaguchi.
Hirofumi Takemoto’s artistic references, such as Edward Steichen and August Sander, show the relationship between geographically distant cultural expressions in the age of globalisation. Takemoto wishes to show how certain values of pre-modern Japan can positively affect today’s westernised society.
The representation of models in black and white responds to the desire to express a beauty that aims to be universal. The balance of light and shadow shows a reflection on an expressionist simplicity that the artist recognises in masterpieces such as the films of Akira Kurosawa.
Faced with the aggressive westernisation imposed by the centre, Hirofumi Takemoto proposes a response that arises from a peripheral feeling: the desire to explore the values that globalisation has made marginal.
About the artist
Hirofumi Takemoto was born in Osaka in 1966. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Osaka University of the Arts. He works mainly as an installation and performance artist.
In recent years he has continued to work with acrylics on canvas and pensive on paper. The theme of his work is to define globalisation as the Europeanisation of the world and, by introducing non-Western and pre-modern values into it, to create a cultural dissimilarity. As a concrete form, he creates works based on the pre-modern art of Kitagawa Utamaro. Hirofumi Takemoto’s works are also influenced by the work of European photographers such as August Sander and Edward Steichen.