Takamatsu was an influential artist, theorist, and teacher in 1960s and 1970s Japan. His work combined subversive and playful aspects of Dada and Surrealism with an idiosyncratic use of Minimalism's refined visual language. After finishing studies in oil painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1958, Takamatsu worked in a range of mediums, including sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, and performance, and probed the material and metaphysical foundations of artistic practice.
Like Japan's Gutai Bijutsu Ky!kai (Gutai Art Association, 1954-72), a group that sought to move away from museums, galleries, and other institutional settings, Takamatsu created public interventions, or activities outside the confines of exhibitions. With artists Genpei Akasegawa and Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Takamatsu formed the collective Hi Red Center (1963-64), which carried out actions in Tokyo to call attention to issues faced in the postwar urban climate. Takamatsu is also widely associated with the movement ‘Mono-Ha' (‘School of Things', 1967-79). Seeking to "reveal the world as it is," Mono-Ha engaged the world through gesture, action, process, and experimentation, rather than formal studio-art methods or finished artworks.
Takamatsu was the subject of a major solo exhibition ‘Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture', Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, United Kingdom (2017); and a retrospective at the National Museum of Art Osaka in Japan (2015). Other notable solo exhibitions include ‘Jiro Takamatsu', Royal Society of Sculptors, London, England (2019); ‘Jiro Takamatsu' at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2015); ‘Jiro Takamatsu: Mysteries', National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan (2014); ‘Jiro Takamatsu', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2013); ‘Jiro Takamatsu Words and Things, Refinement and Tautology', NADiff Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2011); ‘Point Line, Form of Absence', Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan (2009); ‘Photograph of Photograph', Yumiko Chiba Associates/ Viewing Room Ginza, Tokyo, Japan (2008); ‘Universe of His Thoughts, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2004); ‘1970s Three- dimensional Works and Others', Chiba City Museum of Art, Japan (2000).
Recent notable group exhibitions include ‘Geometries On and Off the Grid: Art from 1950 to the Present', The Warehouse, Dallas, Texas, USA (2015); ‘Geometric Perspectives on Japanese Abstraction', BTAP, Tokyo, Japan (2014); ‘Tokyo 1955 - 1970 New Advanced Guard', The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2013); ‘The 70s in Japan, 1968-1982' The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan (2013); ‘Mono-ha Avantguard', Nakanoshima Design Museum, Oska, Japan (2012); ‘Depicting the Uncanny: Tricks and Humor', The Yokosuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa Japan (2011); ‘Japanese Art after 1945: Scream Against the Sky', Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan; touring to Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, USA (1994).
Takamatsu's works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan; Le Musée de l'Objet, Blois, France; Mie Prefectural Art Museum, Tsu City, Japan; Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Shizuoka, Japan; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; Tate Modern, London, England; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota Aichi, Japan; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan ; Dallas Museum of Art, USA and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.