Japan: Art and Its Essence

Japan: Art and Its Essence

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 25. Honda Takeshi (b. 1958) | Mountain Life – Shoji (Yama no kurashi – shoji).

Property from an Important Private Collection

Honda Takeshi (b. 1958) | Mountain Life – Shoji (Yama no kurashi – shoji)

Lot Closed

July 26, 01:25 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private Collection 

Honda Takeshi (b. 1958) 

Mountain Life – Shoji (Yama no kurashi – shoji)

charcoal on paper, executed in 1991

230 x 364.6 cm., 90½ x 143½ in.

Purchased from the artist

Iwate Museum of Art, Japan, Higashijima Tsuyoshi and Honda Takeshi, 16 November 2013 - 16 February 2014.

A modicum of light gently filters through the paper shoji, yet we are in an immensely dark room of a rustic mountain abode. The paper is worn and broken in places revealing further pools of darkness from the outside. Through the accretion of charcoal, Honda Takeshi creates an intense variety of shades in this monumental, monochromatic work.

Honda’s process involves the use of black and white photographs as a basis for his charcoal drawings. After photographing his subject, Honda draws fine lines over it as it were graph paper. A magnified version of this stencil is pasted onto a panel that he will complete his final drawing, painstakingly depicting each square from the photograph and meticulously matching it onto the enlarged grid.

In his work, Honda attempts both practically and visually to negate the self. He removes himself from the subject by not painting in situ, creating landscapes akin to carbonised fossils as if excavated by the viewer. His subjects are places that are relatable anywhere in the Japanese mountain countryside, a conscious decision to conceal his presence in order to capture the very existence of the object depicted. His process at times takes several months to a year to complete.

Honda was born in 1958 in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. In 1987, he moved to the surrounding mountains of Tono, Iwate Prefecture. His works have been exhibited domestically and internationally, including the Iwate Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and The Drawing Center (New York).