10.03.14
John Foster | Accidental Mysteries

Private Language

Takanori Herai (b. 1980) is a Japanese artist with intellectual disabilities, whose works appear to covey the same two drawings over and over again. At first his obsessive drawing was not only overlooked by the caregivers at the residential facility where he lives, but the works themselves were actively discarded.

Eventually they came to recognize that each drawing was an extension of Herai's own private language. The patterns are indeed words—words that only he understands. Herai creates hundreds of two-sided, hieroglyphic-like pages and after accumulating a certain amount, bundles them with string. Front and back morph gradually with only the slightest of differences. Looking at these patterns to compare variations or crack his code can be quite maddening, but Herai lives comfortably holding the keys to his private world.


Bundled diary | pencil, paper, cotton thread
 
Diary page 1 (detail, front) | pencil, paper

Diary page 1 (detail, back) | pencil, paper

Diary page 2 (detail, front) | pencil, paper 

Diary page 2 (detail, back) | pencil, paper

Diary page 3 (combined fronts) | pencil, paper

Diary page 2 (detail, front) | pencil, paper 

Diary page 1 (detail, back) | pencil, paper
 
Diary page 2 (detail, front) | pencil, paper 


Diary page 1 (detail, back) | pencil, paper 
 
Diary page 2 (detail, front) | pencil, paper

Diary page 1 (detail, back) | pencil, paper 
 
Bundled diary | pencil, paper, cotton thread 

 
All images c. 2000–2006, © Takanori Herai, from the Spirit Art Museum
http://www.spiritartmuseum.jp/en/permanent-collection.php?artist=008





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