The Japanese painter and graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo has painted 110 portraits for the Fondation Cartier’s 30th anniversary. Artists, scientists, writers…: all of the depicted figures are linked to the history of the Fondation Cartier..
Created in diverse pictorial styles, these paintings remind us that behind each work there is a face, a presence and a relationship. They depict the community of artists who make up the "great orchestra" of the Fondation Cartier, and underscore the strong, lasting links forged with each of them, and the fidelity and continuity that have characterized these 30 years of patronage. They tell an alternate story of contemporary art that consider the human dimension and the close relationships established with artists the essential factors in the creation of an artistic program.
« I have painted 110 portraits of artists and important figures who all have a special relationship with the Fondation Cartier, and most of whom I have never met.
I am ashamed of my ignorance because I don’t even know the names nor the works of some of these artists.
The documents supplied by the Fondation Cartier in order to paint these portraits consisted of only one photograph per person.
Whilst concentrating and looking at these photos, an idea of the style corresponding to each person came to me naturally. I thus followed this inspiration.
It was as if the person in question had shown me how to paint, enabling me to free myself from my personal style.
It took me 100 days to finish these portraits.”
Born in 1936 at Nishiwaki, lives in Tokyo (Japan)
Originally an illustrator and a renowned master of graphic design in Japan, where he created stage sets and costumes for Kabuki theater, Tadanori Yokoo decided to devote himself mainly to painting in 1980, after a visit to a Picasso exhibition in New York. With abundant references in his work to Western painters such as Picabia and Henri Rousseau, he cultivates "a wide variety of genres and methods" and has made eclecticism his main pictorial style.
The Fondation Cartier organized the first European exhibition of Tadanori Yokoo's paintings in 2006, and entrusted him in 2011 with the creation of the poster for the exhibition Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere.