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Noboru Takayama has spent nearly half a century exploring themes of memory, the body, and the tension between opposing forces. Raised in the physical destruction and political unrest of post-World War II Japan, he most often related these concepts to the perils of modernization. In recent years, though, his work has transcended particular social and historical contexts in order to place viewers in a state of radical awareness of themselves, their environment, and the connection between the two.

In 1968, Takayama began using what has become his signature material: railroad ties. At the time, he saw them as sacrificial “human pillars”—bodies destroyed by the changing personal and professional culture brought about by Japan’s postwar restructuring. In the 1970s, he began coating his railroad-tie installations in tar and creosote to add an olfactory element, augmenting the works’ presence beyond sight alone. Soon after, he sometimes began interposing the ties with other remnants of industry (such as concrete blocks and used motor oil) or signs of domestic life (such as beds or wheelbarrows) to provoke viewers even more directly: Rather than impersonal, apolitical abstractions, the installations came to “confront” the viewer as much as the viewer confronted them.

Since 1983, Takayama has also explored his central themes in a series of works on paper called Emergence of the Memories. Primarily composed of graphite, aluminum powder, and casein, he considers these pieces “performance drawings,” similar to Sho calligraphy. Each composition represents the artist’s spontaneous effort to capture the atmosphere and presence of a particular place when he enters it. In that sense, the works incorporate Takayama’s interest in the ways that memory, both personal and collective, informs our bodily experience in the everyday.

Noboru Takayama was born in 1944 in Tokyo, Japan. He earned a BFA and MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts, then later went on to professorships at the Miyagi University of Education, Sendai, and his alma mater, where he continues to teach today. He has exhibited widely in Japan and abroad, including at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France, in 1973; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (now MoMA P.S.1) in 1990-91; the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, in 1997 and 2000; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea, in 2009. His works resides in permanent collections throughout Japan, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Born 1944 Tokyo, Japan. Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.

EDUCATION

1970
MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts

1968                         
BFA from Tokyo University of the Arts

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018                         
Noboru Takayama, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles, CA 

2016                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery TURNAROUND, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Kajiko Takayama, Sendai Artist-Run Place, Sendai, Japan

2014                         
Emerge of Memories, Tokyo Publishing House, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Kajiko Takayama, SARP, Sendai, Japan

2012                         
Noboru Takayama, Kamakura Gallery, Kamakura, Japan

2011                          
Noboru Takayama, The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of Arts, Tokyo, Japan

2010                         
Noboru Takayama, Sendai Artist-Run Place, Sendai, Japan

2008                        
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2007                        
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Takayama, Gallery 21 yo-j, Tokyo, Japan

2005                        
Noboru Takayama, Amano Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Yellow Plant Gallery, Shizukuishi, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan

2002                        
Noboru Takayama, Amano Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Space 23˚C, Tokyo, Japan

2001                         
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Amano Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Art Center Daegu, Korea

2000                        
Noboru Takayama, Art Center Daegu, Korea
Noboru Takayama, Watts Art Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Fujisaki Annex Ichibancho, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Rias Ark Museum of Art, Kesennuma, Japan

1999                        
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1998                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21 yo-j Annex, Tokyo, Japan

1997                         
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Saiensu, Morioka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Art Gallery Yuki, Sendai, Japan

1996                        
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Art Gallery Yuki, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Seijoh 2nd Gallery, Sendai, Japan

1995                         
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Crystal Gallery, Morioka, Japan

1994                         
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1993                         
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Beeb Gallery Hall, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21 yo-j, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Crystal Gallery, Morioka, Japan

1992                         
Noboru Takayama, SOKO, Tokyo, Japan

1991                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 88, Miyagi, Japan

1990                        
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Art Sera, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Kitano Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21 yo-j, Tokyo, Japan

1989                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Ichibancho Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Saiensu, Morioka, Japan

1988                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21 yo-j, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan

1987                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Saiensu, Morioka, Japan
Headless Scenery Sunrise Sunset, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Headless Scenery Sunrise Sunset, Gallery 21, Tokyo, Japan

1986                         
Noboru Takayama, Isen Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Akiyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Seijoh, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Ichibancho Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Crio Gallery, Miyagi, Japan

1985                         
Noboru Takayama, Ryo Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery ACT, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery 21, Tokyo, Japan

1984                         
Noboru Takayama, Ichibancho Gallery, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Tokiwa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1983                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Saiensu, Morioka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Insara Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Independent Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1982                         
Noboru Takayama, AFTER SIX CLUB / ams Studio, Sendai, Japan\
Noboru Takayama, Galerie Olivia, Sendai, Japan
Noboru Takayama, plan-B, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Hinoki, Tokyo, Japan

1981                          
Noboru Takayama, Gallery K, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Hinoki, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery TE, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Jacob, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Box Gallery, Nagoya, Japan
Noboru Takayama, G Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan

1980                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Puuzenboat Gallery, Shizuoka, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery TE, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Shiba, Yokohama, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Tokjwa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1979                         
Noboru Takayama, Miyuki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan

1978                         
Noboru Takayama, Dori Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Muramatsu, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan

1977                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Tokiwa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Dori Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1976                         
Noboru Takayama, Gallery Maki, Tokyo, Japan

1975                         
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1974                         
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Noboru Takayama, Nirenoki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1973                         
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1972                         
Noboru Takayama Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1971                          
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1970                         
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1969                        
Noboru Takayama, Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1968                         
Space Totsuka, Kanagawa, Japan

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017                         
Japanorama—New vision art since 1970, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France

2015                         
FIVE DECADES, Sculpture and Works in Paper: Koji Enokura, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Tatsuo Kawaguchi, Noboru Takayama, Simon Lee Gallery, London

2012                         
Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mona-ha, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

2009                        
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea

1995                         
Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Venice

1973                         
Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES

2006
Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts

1991 – 2006         
Professor at Miyagi University of Education

1990 – 1991         
International Studio Artist Program, P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center

1985                         
Awarded Artist Prize of Miyagi Prefecture

1978 – 1979          
Part-time Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts

1975 – 1980          
Part-time Professor at Tokai University

1973 – 1980          
Instructor of Sokei Academy of Fine Art & Design