Takahiro Suzuki Press Clipping
Newspaper: Onze Wereld (Our
World) July-August 2001
Title: "In Holland, I was expecting chaos and drunk people"
Author: Joan Veldkamp
the floor of the exhibition hall in the Kröller Müller Museum
are hundreds of clay tablets with piles of rice paper on top of them.
The Japanese artist Takahiro Suzuki (1967) covered them with black
ink writing. It says only one word that is being repeated all the
time "IKIRO", which means "Live" or "Be Alive" or "Live consciously".
The exhibition hall has a view on a garden with potatoes and a writing
desk. Quietly and with great care, Suzuki fills his sheets of IKIRO
here. He is one of the young Japanese contemporary artists who puts
his stamp upon the exhibition "IKIRO / Be Alive, present day Japanese
art from 1980-now".
Suzuki finished art school in his country and attracted attention
because of installations which included his own body as a part of
it. Once he sat in a huge jar filled with earth, in which two tubes
were inserted for supply of air and water. In those experimental hard
times he wrote letters to the artist Vincent Van Gogh, whom he admires
a l ot. In those letters "IKIRO" appeared repeatedly.
"Vincent is my hero because he was pure and honest man who remained
true to his own style, even when people criticized his work . For
Vincent it was hard to survive in the cruel world. For me too, the
world is sometimes too complicated, but the word IKIRO encourages
In New York, he encountered some professional artists who made a clear
choice in their work.
The endlessly repeated movement is a means to concentrate
on the nothingness. It is a form of meditation and a guidance in life.
"I wanted to concentrate on one thing that I could be good at. When
I be came thirty, I wrote IKIRO for the first time for everyday expression.
This work is my way of showing that a simple thing can have great
and pure beauty. Putting down sheets of paper on tablets of clay has
mostly a symbolic meaning. I'm giving the IKIRO paper back to the
earth, like everything will become earth sooner or later. The clay
in the mean time represents growth and fertility." That is why he
himself planted a potato field. "While I'm writing and writing , the
Suzuki sells part of the sheets for ten guilder each. Half of the
profit is going to the refugee organizations. "The positive meaning
of IKIRO should be reflecting to others,too. This way I can do something
"My work now takes me all over the world, and by writing IKIRO I get
in touch with all sorts of people. I like that." Suzuki has been in
Holland for a few months now. "People here are curious and friendly
and very independent. Something I've noticed as well... everything
is much more organized than I dad expected. Holland is such a free
country according to pornography and the use of alcohol and drugs.
I w as expecting much more chaos and drunk people in the sheets, but
everything is very orderly here.