The life and artworks of Shinkichi Tajiri (1923-2009) include Asian, American, and European elements. After all, he was an American by right of birth, Japanese by ethnicity, French because his career began in Paris, and Dutch because he lived in the Netherlands for more than fifty years. Yet Tajiri was a sculptor, first and foremost. Being the prolific artist he was, experimental as well as innovative, he engaged in many different media. Shinkichi Tajiri: Universal Paradoxes offers a fascinating look inside the life and work of this cosmopolitan artist.
From the rich diversity of his oeuvre three themes have been selected that can be considered leitmotifs throughout Tajiri's artistic career: the Knot, the Warrior, and the Wall. These themes encompass universal and paradoxical meanings: knots refer to being connected while also being problematic; warriors evoke associations with war as well as peacekeeping and safety; and walls function both to protect and to exclude people.
The six essays in this anthology reflect on these themes from different perspectives. Each contribution draws on the different professional backgrounds of the authors as well as the variety of their relationships with the artist, ranging from intimate family ties to scholarly interests in his life and work. As a result, the volume presents a kaleidoscope of variegated and complementary views, all providing in their own way insights into the universal paradoxes in the life and art of this thought-provoking artist.