LJMU ERC: Hisachika Takahashi

Hisachika Takahashi: Antwerp 1967/Brussels 2013/Liverpool 2013
Hisachika Takahashi: Antwerp 1967/Brussels 2013/Liverpool 2013

6 December 2013 – 23 January 2014
Monday to Friday 10.00 – 17.00

The Exhibition Research Centre welcomes the third installation of a series of patterned glow-in-the-dark canvases by Hisachika Takahashi (born Tokyo, 1940), curated by the artist Yuki Okumura (born Aomori, 1978).

Takahashi, Lucio Fontana’s assistant in the mid-1960s, first exhibited the paintings at the Wide White Space Gallery in Antwerp in 1967. Forty-five years later, in 2012, Okumura came across a mention of Takahashi’s name in a book devoted to the history of Wide White Space, a gallery known for its commitment to some of the most radical art practices of the 1960s and 1970s.

Intrigued by the elusive figure of Takahashi, Okumura travelled to Belgium to investigate the fate of the Wide White Space paintings. He discovered them in the storage of one of the two co-founders of the gallery, Anny De Decker, and decided to re-exhibit them for the first time since 1967 at the contemporary art centre WIELS in Brussels in May 2013. In the course of his research, Okumura also located Hisachika, who, after serving for many years as Robert Rauschenberg’s assistant in New York, is now retired and lives between Vermont and Paris.

Thanks in large part to Okumura, Takahashi’s oeuvre is currently enjoying renewed attention. The Wide White Space series in particular stands out for its daring combination of European and American art of the mid-1960s – Fontana, but also Andy Warhol, Daan van Golden and Konrad Lueg – and traditional Japanese motifs inspired by kimono textiles and Ikebana. Also noteworthy is Takahashi’s use of fluorescent colours, making these paintings among the first to offer two very different aesthetic experiences, in natural or white light and in ultraviolet light.

Takahashi’s social role in the artists’ community in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, cooking meals for Rauschenberg’s numerous guests and occasionally taking part in Gordon Matta-Clark’s and Carol Gooden’s artists’ restaurant FOOD, further deserves to be recognised as an important precursor to more recent relational art practices.


While in Liverpool for the installation and opening of his exhibition, Takahashi will lead a workshop with LJMU MA Fine Art students.

This is the first time Takahashi and Okumura exhibit in the UK.

Exhibition Research Centre
J. Lennon Art and Design Building
Liverpool John Moores University
Duckinfield Street
Liverpool L3 5RD
T 0151 904 1216