The Knowledge of Books

The Knowledge of Books is a sculpture series by Akane Takayama which considers the fragile nature of knowledge and human works. There is an ongoing reference in the series to her drawing ‘Box and Town’ which was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2002. This referencing can be seen in much of Takayama’s work as she uses and reuses motifs and themes, forms and icons to create a sense of a contiguous vision consistent across her range. The Kiki de Montparnasse motif also sits comfortably within this series and this ease with which the artist’s ideas cross pollinate the varying mediums she uses reveals the skill in her work.

The Knowledge of Books presents us with a two-way mirror; we can look at our possession of the knowledge of books or we can look at the knowledge contained within those books. On this fluid concept, Takayama sits a disarray of buildings, a fossilisation of ideas, a conflict of interests and other contentious constructions. These conflicting stresses exist within a compositional harmony which is a hallmark of Takayama’s productions. In this strange world of ideas, we feel most comfortable with consistency. This is why Akane Takayama’s vision is so compelling.

At face value we see relationships which should not really co-exist or own a connection, they should feel uneasy. However, in her skilful composition, the artist discovers a balance which provides that all important comfort zone for the viewer to perceive from and start to ask questions.