Born in Tokyo in 1955, Shinro Otake is a contemporary artist leading the Japanese art scene. After staying in London from 1977 to 1978 and graduating from Musashino Art University in 1980, Otake held his first solo show in 1982. Otake drew attention as a flag bearer of new painting in Japan. Ever since then, he has been committed to creation of collages of junk pieces as well as objects. In addition to art creation, Otake has worked extensively in design, music, and writing arenas. He moved his base for creation to Uwajima City in Ehime Prefecture in 1988. Otake formed a unit called PUZZLE PUNKS with Yamataka EYE in 1995. In 2006, Shinro Ohtake Zen-Kei: Retrospective 1955-2006 was held at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Otake participated in documenta 13 (Kassel) in 2012. His activities beyond the boundaries of art are widely supported in Japan and the world, especially by young generations.

Family photographs of unknown people that Otake obtained outside Japan fill out the cross-shaped base composed of scrap wood and the tarred linen cloth. At the center of the base is the cross-shaped scrap wood covered with a piece of white cloth like bed linen with burned holes. Does the title “Family Tree,” pronounced kakei-zu in Japanese, have the double meaning of “a picture of execution by burning,” which is also pronounced kakei-zu? The work tells the memory of time each experienced through seemingly aged scrap materials and photographs.


  • Title: Family Tree
  • Creator: Shinro Otake
  • Date Created: 1986/1988
  • Physical Dimensions: 265.0×253.0×20.0
  • Type: Art work
  • Rights: © Shinro Otake
  • Medium: Oil,tar,oil-stick,burlap,lacquer,photograph,printed matter,pluster,beeswax,plexiglass,paper,cloth,found wood on wooden panel

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