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Towa Takaya 

Artist, painter 

Born in 1992, Tokyo. Currently based in Tokyo. Moved to London in 2011 and studied art and design in Central Saint Martins school of Art. Graduated from Goldsmiths, University of Arts London with a bachelor’s degree in Art in 2016. Her paintings whose uniqueness appears by elegant lines and mystic colors are rooted in trans-disciplinary thoughts from spatial to time and existence. Takaya has been focusing on painting as well as exporting digital medium including filming and Virtual Reality. She expands her art practice to other creative fields, cooperating as art supervision for filmmaking and other commercial works. She participated in group exhibitions: ART FAIR TOKYO 2019 at Tokyo International Forum: Smile of Flowers in 2018, Kobayashi Gallery, Tokyo: Adobe Max Japan 2017 at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA: TSUNAGARI Project at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Tokyo: Enter in 2016 at exhibition room of Daigaku Kaikan, University of the Arts, Tokyo: ON the THRESHOLD II : Formal Presence in 2016 at Oriental museum in Darham, UK. 

Artist statement

Since my nomination to the 83rd KOKUTEN at the National Art Centre in Tokyo in 2009, I have explored my own painterly way; proposing as paintings the origin of space where we cannot speak.

I create with my paintings, whichever abstract or figurative, a space in which physicality and relation between materials are presented in a different way from the world they usually belong to.

In my art practice, there is no subject matter presented but appearance of objects in the painting displays the presence, or being, before it functions as symbol or sign to generate certain narratives. The space created is often flat, both in terms of semiology and perspective. There is no division between past, present and future. The works point out the place where language doesn't start to generate meaning but have presence.

Introducing the artist

Towa Takaya creates with her paintings, whichever abstract or figurative, a space in which physicality and relation between materials are presented (not represented) in a different way from the world they usually belong to.  


This space does not have its own meaning. Neither has it depth. In other words, the space she creates is flat, both in terms of semiology and perspective. Besides, neither has it the flow of time; there is no division between past, present and future. Concerning time sequence, the space the painting proposes is also flat.


It does not mean that the space of Towa’s works generates no meanings. Rather, the space creates a flat space in which beholder and the work encounter, and at that time the meaning emerges. In other words, her works have a potential to generate a phenomenological encounter, so that it generates rather than has meanings. That is, only if the space of her works is in contact with the beholders who perceive the world with the sense of time-flow, meaning and story about the works begin to appear. 


In this sense, the space which her paintings generate seems to be “the space of appearance,” in H. Arendt’s terminology. She claims that in the space of appearance


[t]o be alive means to live in a world that preceded one’s own arrival and will survive one’s own departure. On this level of sheer being alive, appearance and disappearance, as they follow upon each other, are the primordial events, which as such mark out time, the time span between birth and death. (H. Arendt, The Life of the Mind)


Towa’s paintings require to be experienced in a space which enables layered spaces to coexist. At the primordial level of experience, the painting is flat, because it is not linked with meaning, space, and time of the “world that preceded one’s own arrival”. However, her painting activates the world at the moment of phenomenological encounter in the space of appearance where appearance of disappearance and disappearance of appearance make sense at once. For instance, while the visual, or substantial, appearance of objects and body on canvas emerges as the disappearance of their usual form, the appearance of the original form of them (in the Aristotelian sense) is proposed as the disappearance of their forms which are con-figured visually and materially. Here, flatness of painting itself and layers of spaces it creates coexist, as it presents appearance with disappearance.


The reason Towa’s works function as such is that they create, or themselves are, the space of appearance, which is flat and simultaneously layered in terms of meaning, time and space. In this way, Towa proposes as paintings the origin of space which enables the phenomenological encounter.


Junya Utsumi




Center for Special Information Science in The University of Tokyo 

Cooperative Research Fellow   Jan, 2017- 2019 


Goldsmith College, University of London  

BA (Hons), Fine Art      2012-2015


Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design , University of Arts London  

Foundation Diploma for Art and Design  2011– 2012


Keio University (Japan)

BA, Economics  2010– 2011 







Venue: WHYNOT. TOKYO (Tokyo, Japan)

Date: 16th Jan to 2nd Feb in 2020


Plastic Rendez-vous

Venue: 5th base gallery (London, England) 2014

Date:16th to 21st Dec in 2014 

Either me or you 

Sponsored by Jun Atsushi & Kaoru Ichikawa Fine Art 

Venue: DESIGN FESTA GALLERY EAST 302  (Tokyo, Japan) 

Date:7th - 21st Sep in 2014   


The One                                       

Jun Atsushi & Kaoru Ichikawa Fine Art (Mie, Japan )  

Dates:14th to 21st July in 2013   




Things may or may not be useful but beautiful

Venue: Monkey Galley DAIKANYAMA (Tokyo, Japan)

Date: 1st Feb to 11th Feb in 2020 

How Tokyo Biennale ?

Venue: 3331 Arts Chiyoda

Adress: 6-11-14, Higashikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN

Date; 14th Oct to 4th Nov in 2019 

Official website

Arcus Pride Art Exhibition

Date: 28th Jun in 2019

Venue: JP Morgan Tokyo brunch

Adress: Tokyo Building, 7-3, Marunouchi 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 100-6432

Arcus Pride Art Exhibition

Date: 27th Jun  in 2019

Venue: Clifford Chance International Law-farm Tokyo 

Adress: Tokyo Palace Building, 3rd floor 1-1, Marunouchi 1-chome. Chiyoda-ku. Tokyo 100-0005 


Venue;Tokyo International Forum / Kobayashi Gallery Exhibition booth

Artist: Izumi Akiyama, Sei Shibusawa, Chihiro Tanaka, Taniho Reina, 

Rina Yokyama, Takeshi Tanaka, Towa Takaya

Supported by;Art Tokyo Association

Date: 7th March to 10th March, 2019

Official website:

Smile of Flowers 

Venue:Kobayashi Gallery

Adress; 3F, 1-15-13,Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN  

Sven Fresher Green

Venue; Kobayashi Gallery

Adress:7-5-12, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Ginza, Tokyo, JAPAN


Venue:Tokyo University of the Arts (Exhibition Room,  Faculty of Music Campus,)

Adress:12-8 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, TOKYO 110-8714 JAPAN

Participating artists: Jyuri Akiyama, Towa Takaya

Curated by Jyunya Utsumi 

Date: 6th -9th Dec, 2017 


Wework x Creative Debuts 

Wework at Devonshire Square (London,UK) 

25 April,2016-2019

Oliver Agency x Creative Debuts 

Oliver Agency (Shoreditch, London, UK)

19 April,2016 - 2019


ON the THRESHOLD II: Formal Presence

Oriental Museum/ Teikyo University DURHAM (Durham, UK)

29 Jan - 20 May, 2016



Oriental Museum/ Teikyo University DURHAM (Durham, UK)

10 -15 Nov, 2015



Hoxton Hotel x Creative Debuts 

Hoxton Gallery in Hoxton Hotel Holborn (London, UK) 

6th October 2015- 6th January 2016



Graduates Exhibition curated by VJB Arts,

10 Gresham Street, (London, UK) Sep  2015- Jan 2016



Creative Debuts Showcase VIII  (Whitechapel Gallery's First Thursday)

Black and White building (London, UK) 2015




Goldsmiths, University of London (London, UK) 2015




Dalston Department Store (project space)  (London, UK) 2014




Shiboriya, Kameyama Higashi shopping street (Mie, Japan)  2012



Painting Show                              

Central Saint Martins College of Art (London, UK)  2012




DESIGN FESTA GALLERY (Tokyo, Japan) 2011



Keio Raiousya Gallery  (Kanagawa, Japan)   2010



Maebashi Film Festival 2016

Sponsored  by Maebashi Film Festival Execution Committee

11th-12th Nov,2016 (Maebashi, Japan)




Young Creators Award 2017 

MI Gallery

14th-31st Oct, 2017 (Osaka, Japan)    

83rd KOKUTEN                                   






Collaboration with Kuriya Keiko

from "the thirty three forms of antiquity" 

Organized by Honoka Natsuyama(from Kuriya Keiko) and Yutaro Ono

Special thanks to Jun Atsushi & Kaoru Ichikawa Fine Art

Kuriya Keiko (London, England) 2015


live performance for VR painting @ NTT docomo Ventures,(Tokyo, Japan)

22nd March, 2017

Operated by ARC

Technical assistance by Nano media 

The venue provided by NTT docomo Ventures


live performance (experimentation)

1st May to 5th Oct 2017

Operated by Riku Murakami and Issui Shioura


TUNAGARI Project -Picture Happiness on Earth-

Venue; National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

Event website: