Spotlight: In a Kyoto Exhibition, Artist Takao Inoue Contemplates the Complex History of the Dutch Tulip Trade

"La Petite Voix" at Wanmono Art presents 30 works from the artist's "Broken Tulips" series.

Installation view
Installation view "Takao Inoue: La petite voix" 2021. Courtesy of Wamono Art, Kyoto.

Every month, hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on one artist you should know. Check out what we have in store, and inquire for more with one simple click.

What You Need to Know: “La Petite Voix” at Wamono Art presents 30 works from Japanese artist Takao Inoue’s “Broken Tulips” series. The series consists of single flowers, each sealed in a block of acrylic. These serene and almost tomb-like works revisit the curious phenomenon of the tulip trade in Holland during the 16th and 17th centuries. During that era, tulips with mottled petals were a coveted rarity, selling for as much as $1 million in today’s currency. But after the tulips were found to be carrying a virus, trade of the flower—and even its mere existence—was outlawed. Inoue’s work reflects on how some of these “broken” tulips have managed to survive to this day. 

Why We Like It: Inoue’s series is imbued with a fairy tale-like stillness. The blocks of clear acrylic can be read as glacial slabs of ice in which time is suspended, and in which the flowers may live on forever. In this installation, the gallery presents works from the “Broken Tulips” series in a large black cabinet with glass doors, as though in a 16th-century wunderkammer. The exhibition also includes several works from an untitled series focused on dandelions. In the years following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the artist began to notice unusually formed dandelions in the streets of Tokyo, which managed to survive amid less than ideal conditions. He’s preserved some of these misshapen dandelions here, as he contemplates the plant world’s desire to live despite and beyond human intervention. 

According to the Artist: “In my mind, these flowers signify survival, or an intention to survive…I believe art endures and does not disappear in a short time. Everything is included in art, including things that people do not see, deliberately choose not to see, and that which the world ignores or abandons. Through my works, I attempt to focus on parts of the world that have been overlooked.” 

Browse works from the artist below.

Takao Inoue
Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/43 (2018)
Wamono Art
Inquire for More Information

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/25 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/25 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.

 

Takao Inoue
Broken Tulip, Apr. 23, 2019, t/56 (2019)
Wamono Art
Inquire for More Information

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/18 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/18 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.

Takao Inoue
Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/16 (2018)
Wamono Art
Inquire for More Information

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/16 (2018) Courtesy of Wamono Art.

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/16 (2018) Courtesy of Wamono Art.

 

Takao Inoue
Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/18 (2018)
Wamono Art
Inquire for More Information

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/18 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.

Takao Inoue, Broken Tulip, Apr. 25, 2018, t/18 (2018). Courtesy of Wamono Art.


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share