Tadasu Takamine – Artist Talk

Tadasu Takamine, taking us deep into the nexus of what your administrator believes to be a tremendously important point of human culture.  The quasi-victorian, cosmopolitan, internationalism of the 1920s is no longer valid.  The presumption that if we all learn the victors’ languages, and converse using a discourse dependent upon incumbent moralities, histories, and narratives the difference between you and me will somehow dissolve into insignificance is dead.  Internationalism is dead.  As a persistent tool for living together, its imperfection has been fatally exposed.

In Takamine’s very personal relationship with his now wife and soon to be mother of a second child, Kwiweol Kim, he has boldly confronted the reality that genealogy is more than sperm and eggs and that culture, our living, growing, dying meshes of memory and language is far more complex than one may wish to imagine.   After making his hit work, God Bless America, a humanist critique of present day American imperialism that was very well received at the 2003 Venice Biennale, Takamine got the message that there was far more important ground to explore.  His loathing of American imperialism exposed his blindness to the everyday, ongoing rumble of Japanese imperialism of which he was/is a part.  Luckily, as Takamine puts it, in early 2003 Kwiweol saved him with the question, “why is it that you hate Zainichi” (Zainichi is short-hand Japanese for Zainichikankokujin, Korean’s resident in Japan, Koreans and their descendents who were brought to Japan during the colonial period, 1910-1945, mainly as forced labour, who had their Japanese citizenship revoked after WWII).  This seemingly out of the blue question, partially a reaction to his anti-american obsessions of the time exposed him to his common Japanese blindness.  The work that has emerged thereafter, A Lover from Korea (Zainichi no Koibito), Korean Studies, Baby Insadong, Common Sense, Kagoshima Esperanto etc, generously expose Takamine’s very real struggle with the living questions of language, culture and inter-human co-existence.  This subject deserves a book, documentary, a museum of exploration.  In short, however, it was an honour to have Takamine share his very personal processes with us.


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