Takeshi Makishima

Takeshi Makishima (b. 1980 in Fukuoka, Japan) lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Remain in Light

Takeshi Makishima - Remain in Light
15 June–20 July 2019 (A)
Opening: Saturday, 15 June, 6–9 pm

27 July–31 August 2019 (B)
Opening: Saturday, 27 July, 6–9 pm

Takeshi Makishima will show new works at ITALIC under the title Remain in Light. Makishima has designed the exhibition to be shown in two consecutive parts. His images are pieces of the sea, painterly explorations of the sea, its inhabitants, its users, and our dreams and fantasies about the ocean.

Takeshi Makishima’s preferred techniques are drawing and painting.

He shows a certain interest in sculpture when he abandons two-dimensionality in his paintings through mixed techniques, or cuts his frames and canvases into non-rectangular shapes in order to achieve the desired expression of the image. He works quickly when drawing. Makishima uses various media such as watercolor, ink, gouache, pastel, or graphite, and works on paper.

Where the picture seems abstract, it is due to the gestural rendering of a precise observation, spontaneity becomes a moment of recollection. No matter how fast, his drawings still form sophisticated compositions. They stand alone; and if a motif is identified in the elaborated oil painting, the drawing is less a sketch and more a footnote or an addendum.

When painting Makishima works with large surfaces. He structures them with brushstrokes, in impressions of forest floors, wood, waves, or imagined underwater landscapes. He throws in a person, adds an animal, an item of furniture. He applies a coordinated palette of colors and shapes; he works with shading and shadows where his narrative requires them.

He plays with perspectives: if he wants to show a detail, then he dedicates himself to it completely, zooms in, brings it forward, directly under the surface of the image, works on it carefully; if the space is the focus, then the view is from above, angled top views and overviews, folded up rooms and meadows, like those from Pirosmani’s paintings.

In Makishima’s work, one can generally discern an exploration of images from classical modernism: he draws on ideas from Matisse or Gaugin, for example, and in turn their access to handicraft, folk art, icons, non-European art forms, and the social or socialist idea of a popular international language. And in this one can also attest to an affinity for Milan Kunz or Jan Knap.

The subjects are images of a figurative reality that Makishima makes abstract in such a way that they attain a universal legibility. The human figures are not merely staffage, nor are they individuals; instead they represent all of us. Additions in their hands, here a fishing rod, there a cake fork, a brush, a flower vase. Attributes are a marker in the poster, an anchor point in the large surface area. They carry them with them in this moment for this one symbolic logic, and the next moment they put them down. They are free. A gathering of friends—finding each other, working together, drifting away from each other, and regrouping again. And are not enough for themselves.

Narration is an important element in Takeshi Makishima’s painting. There is no right or wrong in his grammar. His pictures are full of emblems. The titles may be read as offers to enter them. Mysterious mirror images that open up spaces of opportunity which give one the opportunity to incorporate them into one’s own story, to find one’s own solutions, and to continue to narrate this story.

Text: Andreas Reihse

Takeshi Makishima - Remain in Light, Installation view, 2019, Italic Berlin