The subway doors ease closed, hissing, and then I falter, lurching forward, regaining balance with my eyes. Through the window, its dusty veined surface, I see forms. Rumpled, bent, slack, suspended bodies, followed by passages of darkness, light, and then faces! We're traveling at the same speed, frames per second, as the faces flicker before me. What infinite, abbreviated pleasure, the eyes, noses, chins, beards, earrings, berets, gold teeth, the emotions of an entire day flexed and flattened between tunnel pylons. What a privileged position, the queer and discomforting intimacy. These expressions caught between panes of glass, fissured, emotions elusive, these faces caught between expressions. And then there is just one face, her head bent forward, soft red cap, turtleneck. Her lips are moving, eyes downcast, as a tremor cuts across her cheek. She turns, the merest moment exchanged, eyes half-crazed, looking at me, through me...no, just through the glass, cracked and forlorn. Just as quickly I slow, her lips smear, eyes torn away, gone, to a full stop.
Stooping, I notice a faint white shape in the dirt. Eyeing it closely, taking it up, I discover a figure has been drawn in colored pens on the surface. It's a small square notebook, the round restless face of a young boy sketched on the cover. He looks at me keenly through layers of dust. Turning to the second page, I see again the boy, but now a slight sneer mars his lips. Then another page, and again the boy, this time a budding smirk, his face less round, firmer, unmistakably changed. Turning again, and again, each page reveals a new face, slightly transformed—surely older. Flipping quickly to the last page reveals the wrinkled shrunken head of an elderly man, eyes shut. With this understanding, I now investigate more closely each life stage. Whether backwards or forwards, facets of his face are revealed, then taken away, and yet they return again, slightly altered, resolute. Layer upon layer of life lived—ever relived as memory. Rain has caused stains, like filigree marbling the boy's face; and certain sheets are missing, having been torn out, the steady advance punctuated, the false starts that texture a life's surface, in every glance ultimately a mirror. A page falls off in my hand, and, hesitating a moment...I push it into my pocket, and then return the little notebook to the ground.
Looking at the faces of Takahiro Kimura, you have the feeling that you're back where you started, looking again, for the second or third time. That in a way you've been beside Takahiro all along, as he's found the photos in magazines, randomly, and then torn their faces into pieces, reconfiguring them before painting the resulting image. For such is your wonder, your sense of sheer discovery, grounded in the deepest familiarity. Not of form necessarily, but of mood, expression and, most importantly, emotion. Takahiro has deconstructed and reconstructed the human face as if with panes of glass, or, more, planes of emotion, applied with the care and resonance of someone looking not at his model...but at you the viewer. Discovering what both you and he—what we all—conceal behind our constructed layers. Thus the undeniable mastery of Takahiro's medium, while rooted in color, line, texture, is equally his deft wielding of the mirror.