Hisachika Takahashi: Antwerp 1967/Brussels 2013/Liverpool 2013 @ LJMU Exhibition Research Centre, Liverpool

Review by Emma Sumner | 20 Dec 2013

Glow-in-the-dark artwork seen under UV light is something usually associated with a trip to your local Laser Quest, but, in a unique exhibition experience, the Exhibition Research Centre at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has brought glow-in-the-dark art into the gallery. Since last being exhibited in 1967, Japanese artist Hisachika Takahashi’s mesmerising, repetitive patterned canvases had spent the last 45 years in storage before being shown earlier this year in Brussels. It was artist Yuki Okumura who, on finding a reference to Takahashi in a book, sought out the elusive artist’s work and finally discovered the paintings in storage.

Takahashi spent the majority of his career working as an assistant for internationally renowned artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. A keen collaborator, he saw his assistant work more as collaboration than assistance: as curator Antony Hudek explains, the striking blue painting in the exhibition is painted in official Yves Klein blue, a pot of which Takahashi found in a studio in Antwerp that Klein had also once occupied – and despite never meeting Klein in person, Takahashi considers the painting a collaboration.

In keeping with this collaborative spirit, Takahashi has used an old, damaged painting to collaborate with current LJMU MA Fine Art students. One has cut the painting into tiny little circles and served them in a bowl with chop sticks; another has painted over the original with a simple black detail. The hotchpotch nature of these various collaborations makes them feel less like an additional part of the exhibition and more like the kind of things you'd find only if you stumbled into the artist’s studio. [Emma Sumner]

Until 23 Jan, 10am-5pm Mon-Fri ***Correction: This article was edited 6/1/2014 to acknowledge that Takahashi's pieces were most recently exhibited in Brussels, not Antwerp as previously stated*** http://www.erc-ljmu.org