“Heisei" the Heisei period started on January 8th, 1989, with the death of Emperor Hirohito and his son Akihito's, ascension to the throne as the 125th Emperor.
“Estheticism” the Aesthetic Movement, which believed in “art for art’s sake” with an emphasis on “the visual and sensual qualities of art and design.”
“Heisei Estheticism” is a style of art coined by contemporary artist Takato Yamamoto.
April 30, 2019, marked the end of the Heisei Era as Emperor Akihito abdicated after over 30 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Takato Yamamoto remains to focus on his work.
Takato Yamamoto was born in the Akita Prefecture in 1960. He moved to Tokyo to study, graduating from the painting department of the Tokyo Zokei University in 1983. Following his graduation, Takato experimented with the ukiyo-e style from 1991-1993 to allow him to define his own style. He calls his own style “Heisei Esthetics” and it blends the influence of the ukiyo-e with Japanese pop art and Western gothic art. Takato began his career as a commercial illustrator before becoming a painter and visual artist. This helped to add to his unique style.
Takato explores themes of darkness, bondage, metamorphosis, love and death. His works never depict any violence, in fact they are relaxed and tranquil. The images depict either an impending violence or a completed act of violence. The characters in his paintings are painted in beautiful colours but seem helpless with emotionless faces and doll-like positioning. The paintings are highly detailed and dreamlike with delicate and intricate lines showing the brutality.
Outside of Japan there is little known about Takato. He appears to be an artist who keeps his life hidden so the focus remains on his work.
2018 Tezukayama Galery, Fu-en: Koh-jutsu - Chapter IX, Osaka, Japan
2016 Gallery Kogure, Art Stage Singapore
2015 Gallery Kogure, Art Fair Tokyo
2015 Gallery Ten, Kanazawa, Japan, Ran-Sho
2015 Jonathan Levine Gallery, Chelsea, New York, Japanese Human Sensors
2013 Gallery Kogure, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, Contiguos Zone
2010 Aki Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, TEKAZU-Kei – Aesthetic movement in Japanese Contemporary Art