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

On 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 me."
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 potatoes grow."
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 good."
"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.