We Are Pirates of Uncharted History: Nobuaki Takekawa


To inaugurate the new year, Ota Fine Arts is delighted to showcase new works by Nobuaki Takekawa for the first time in Singapore.

Born and raised in Japan, Nobuaki Takekawa was one of tens of thousands of Japanese who encountered the massive earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident of 2011. These incidents shattered the illusions of a promising future endowed by new scientific and technological developments. The events spurred Takekawa on to question the rapid progress of a "Western-originated" world, and to reconsider the history of mankind and the origins of technology.

By focussing on China, the Middle East and other Asian regions, Takekawa allegorises discrete histories, geographies, ecologies and technologies to present unlikely alternatives to Western-centric narratives. The results are reconstituted maps, charts, and objects that quite poetically reverse the waves of past imperial enterprises, which through Takekawa's own curiosity are inflected by the local and even the personal.

Over the past decade, the artist has also been consistently invested in suggesting notions of time and duration to his viewer in rather unexpected ways. He is highly attentive to idiosyncratic details and often chronicles patterns in nature--from a cicada's eclosion and life cycle, to the harvesting of a sea cucumber. He reconstructs these into colourful family trees drawn with a humorous aesthetic, or into glass models that betray a finer intuition. For him, these patterns are more than decorative features; they accumulate and unfold as exquisite records of personal, natural, and cultural histories.

Thus, one can readily trace Takekawa's selection of the individual object towards a broader comprehension of the world. In his latest work, he has become very preoccupied with sea creatures, waves, boats, maritime mythology and mapping. The ocean shapes his vision of the globe, as it both dissects and connects time and space.

Installation Views