Born in 1978 - United States
Takefumi Hori is a young Japanese artist currently based in New York. Working from his studio in Brooklyn Takefumi finds himself surrounded by the hustle and bustle of everyday urban life. The dynamism and vibrancy of New York City are part of the inspiration for his paintings: the atmosphere and energy alongside the material wealth and prosperity of this financial hub are juxtaposed with the calm serenity of classically uncomplicated geometry and composition.
Takefumi does not however strive to simply reflect the surface appearance of a city; his interest lays in a more fundamental and ideological contemplation of the interaction between individuals and their surroundings. The way we behave and respond to our circumstances and the balance between exterior affluence and internal equilibrium. His works can be best described using the Japanese word SHIBUI.
SHIBUI (??) adj, n: a Japanese word which refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.
Takefumi’s work gives an initial appearance of simplicity but on closer inspection the viewer can see subtle details such as surface texture and varying depths of the application of gold leaf and paint. These elements work together to give a balance of clarity and complexity ensuring that the paintings remain fresh; the Shibui object constantly finds new meaning and an enriched beauty that allows its aesthetic and intellectual value to develop over time. There is a fine line of contrasting elements, the elegance of the gold and silver leaf and the roughness of the surface scratches, the spontaneity of the artists’ hand and the restrained and balanced use of composition.
Takefumi’s paintings are a refined expression of the essence of elements in an aesthetic experience producing quietude. Spare elegance is enlivened by the iridescence of gold and the flashes of colour he sometimes introduces. They move beyond the idea of beauty into the more enduring realm of the sublime.
In his Critique of Judgment (1790), Immanuel Kant states that the sublime "is to be found in a formless object,” represented by a "boundlessness". It is this boundlessness that Takefumi is searching for. His paintings do not solely appeal to the eye as aesthetically beautiful objects, they go beyond such constraints. The viewer is quite literally invited to unleash their sensorial and emotional responses; the openness and expansive surfaces of Takefumi’s paintings are both inviting and resistant. His mark-making and scratching away at the picture plane capture our attention and draw us deeper into the folds of colour and precious metals that are his materials.
Takefumi’s combination of the Shibui aesthetic and the search for the sublime result in paintings that are arresting and captivating. His fascination with contemporary life in a modern metropolis alongside a more philosophical concern with the nature of aesthetics and our reaction to them allow him to create canvases that do much more than search for the sublime, they uncover the very essence of it.
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