Noritaka Tatehana, Aesthetics of Magic

Exhibition Period: November 3, 2016— March 5, 2017

Taro Okamoto is an exceptional artist who goes far beyond my comprehension and makes me want to think that he himself is the magic. All his life, Taro never sold his work with his own hands. For Taro, resisting the society was his way of interfering with the society with all his might. Presenting an exhibition at the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, a place that can be called a shrine, is a homage to Taro who represents primitive art, and gave me a chance to reconsider the past that won’t go away. I hope that the viewers encounter the series of works that I created by casting a spell to myself, or the works that reject any understanding from the outside world.

Noritaka Tatehana


Noritaka Tatehana, the artist who receives attention from around the world has just turned thirty years old. He is known for the fact that the “Heel-less Shoes” he had created for his graduation project caught the attention of Lady Gaga and immediately emerged into the art scene; however, it is completely wrong to conclude that he simply had talent or that he was just born under a lucky star.
After deciding to become a world-class fashion designer as a high school student, he studied weaving and dyeing at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and chose the path to internalize the techniques and thoughts of Japanese clothing. Normally, one would choose to learn at a fashion college then jump out abroad, but Tatehana didn’t; he daringly turned his back to the ordinary and made a gamble with his life. His decision was based on deep deliberation about how to arm himself with a weapon that enables him to fight on the global stage.
Back when he was in high school, he had spent eight years visiting COMME des GARÇONS to grab the chance to present his works, and later splashed hundreds of e-mails all over the world to promote his “Heel-less Shoes.”
Creative ambition is what backs up Noritaka Tatehana, and strategic vision and strategic action is the driving force behind it. His mentality lies exactly on the opposite of typical “die-hard” spirit. Logical thinking and passionate action are the source of his power.
It was the same for Taro Okamoto. He is often misconstrued to be the typical artistic type whose motives are based on impulse and instinct, but that is completely different. Take, for example Taro having studied philosophy and ethnology at the University of Paris to witness the beginning of movements of abstract art–his thinking is highly logical.
What is striking about Taro is that not only did he think but he actually made an action with passion. It should be obvious if you look at the Tower of the Sun. (Anyone can understand it when he sees the Tower of the Sun.)
To fight in the global arena, Taro Okamoto went to Paris, Noritaka Tatehana remained in Japan. The paths they had taken were different, but the mentality prepared to confront anything that comes in front of them is the same. They both challenged common practice and standards, and they choose their direction depending solely on their faith. Their engines were pride and their absolute faith.
Take a look at the number of works that Noritaka Tatehana created specially to face Taro.
I hope that his splendid prowess will be exposed especially to the eyes of young viewers who are about to venture into the creative world.
The “living testimony” who best exemplifies the hint to how to comprehend future creativity exists right here.

Akiomi Hirano, Director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum