In his two solo exhibitions in 1998, Takehiko Higuchi showed a
significant change while drawing on the context of his previous
works. The new stage has clarified the orientation of Higuchi’s
interest, and it could be said that the change has been shared
by the audiences. The works since then can be classified practically
into three series.
The first is the “Real Number” series, which was first exhibited
in 1998 and became the chief form of Higuchi’s art afterward.
It is what the layers of plates in the previous forms, which seemed
to symbolize machine parts or the human body, became independent
and developed. The exterior view is almost that of a cube, of
a sharp and cool geometrical object at first glance. But the plates’
cut ends are grooved minutely. the intervals between the plates
varied from one work to another. and, moreover, as the plates
are warped by burning and mildly undulated, their details are
never silent. The panels each murmur, and a lovely noise is heard
as we stand in front of them.
Another is a series of spheres called “Daikokudama (big black
balls)” by the artist, which appeared in about 2006. They ranged
between 10 cm and 1 m in diameter. Regardless of the size, they
look eerie when put randomly in a space, letting us feel as if
masses of darkness have appeared there. The black spheres, while
arousing anxiety about their substance not being instantly clear,
strongly attract our vision with their eeriness. These are geometrical
also in that they are spherical. But their surfaces are rather
uneven because of the burning, and innumerable holes are made
by the artist’s hands all over the surfaces. So they look unquiet
and noisy, albeit not loud, as is the case with the first series.
The noisiness, coupled with the eerie appearance, even creates
subtle fun. The small spheres are solid, while the large ones
have surfaces several centimeters thick with their center hollow.
Whatever, the great presence of clay with such weight and the
power it emitted might also be a major element of this series.
And the last is a series of thin clay plates whose cut ends look
rectangular C or O. It appeared at about the same time as “Daikokudama.”
The series’ formative characteristics and its point of appreciation
may have derived from the visual fragility of the structure of
thin plates. If put on the ground with the open sides up or down,
the work would remind us of a container or cylinder with the familiar
purposes of claywork, and look rather stable as a form. The point
of this series is that the works are laid horizontally to create
a strange balance accompanied with fragility. They look fresh
and have an effect enough to take the scales off our eyes.
By the way, I have told about Higuchi’s works referring to their
forms, but I should mention the color in which his works are painted
in common – that is, “black,” the chief characteristic of his
Higuchi lets his works absorb India ink after burning, and moreover
chars their surfaces with a burner. Through such a process, the
works get mat black surfaces. Still, as long as they are material
objects, they reflect light to indicate their presence. Therefore,
the expression “masses of darkness,” which I used in reference
to “Daikokudama,” is still a metaphor.
Some manipulations to turn the metaphor into reality are the intervals
between the plates and the grooves on the cut ends in the “Real
Number” series.the innumerable holes on the surfaces of “Daikokudama”;
and the gaps in the rectangular C or O forms. That is, Higuchi
tries to see, in the shadows that appeared there, a “black” on
a yet farther stage. It could certainly be said that the shadows
deepen the black of the works even more, while thinning the works’
substantiality and bringing about an atmosphere of the masses
Am I going too far if I say that Higuchi’s formative art is a
device to produce that atmosphere? The attempt will be endless,
but it might be possible to approach the masses of darkness by
constantly increasing the amount of the “atmosphere.” And, that
as long as his works are formative ones, they cannot become masses
of darkness eventually – it is an antinomy that Higuchi will keep
embracing and, at the same time, the happiness for a formative
In this solo exhibition, a work with the deepest rectangular-C
form ever seen and another new work giving the impression of having
elements of both the rectangular O form and “Real Number” will
be shown. There must be a fresh atmosphere of darkness.