Subject Area

Art History/Criticism/Conservation, Art


This thesis will argue that the canonical literature concerned with Conceptualism should also reflect the important contributions of artists whose work directly contributes to and engages with the artistic dialogue centered around philosophy, science, and mathematics that was taking place during the 1960s and 1970s. This thesis will explore the post-war Japanese artist Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998) and his use of point and string throughout his oeuvre, which consists of thematic series of artworks that are constructed through his interest in the ideas of linearity, extension, seriality, and existence.

Takamatsu is placed within art history as an early anti-art, Fluxus-adjacent artist who is most noted for influencing the Mono-ha art movement which used found materials to reveal “the world as it is” — he is rightly celebrated as such, however, I believe his influence reaches much further than that. Through this exploration, I also wish to draw out the thematic connections his many series of artworks have with his global contemporaries during the 1960s-80s. Takamatsu’s series were also concerned with phenomenological questions that seemed to arise simultaneously throughout the conceptual art world, his series also engaged with ideas from topology, set theory and thermodynamics, of which his global contemporaries are also concerned.

Degree Date

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name



Art History


Anna Lovatt

Second Advisor

Roberto Conduru

Third Advisor

Randall Griffin

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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