My good friend Tatsumi Orimoto, now one of Japan’s best-known artists, has made his mother a central subject in his work for the last several years. This, he once explained to me, is because she always supported him in his creative efforts — efforts that are, in a word, unorthodox: in one, he famously ties baguettes to his head and travels the world as “Bread Man.”

Orimoto’s father, however, was another story — critical from the moment his son applied to art university and dismissive of the whole idea of a life in art.

Last week I met an emerging Japanese artist, Yoshiro Takasaki, whose father had been supportive of a creative pursuit that was also rather unorthodox.

Sitting in the little Senkukan Gallery, where he is holding a solo show, Takasaki reached into his bag and took out an old photograph of his father, who died in 1996. The actual picture was unremarkable, a middle-aged Japanese man in casual clothes and a white sun hat, standing in a park, with Takasaki’s younger sister playing in the background — the sort of snapshot we never suspect might one day become a treasured memento. But when Takasaki handed it over, the gesture contained the sort of trust one feels when a mother offers you her baby to hold.

Takasaki’s work is all about mementos, in this case in the form of mass transit tickets and receipts from journeys significant in the artist’s life.

“While at Geidai [Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music], I tried painting abstract oils, but didn’t find any ‘reality’ in this. So I looked at my everyday life, and when I found a receipt, I realized it was tangible, easy to understand and reflected what I had done on a particular day. I developed this motif using a variety of methods, such as tracing, silkscreening, and using computer-graphics programs.”

Central in Takasaki’s new show, “Life — The Memory One Ticket Told,” is a 2003 piece titled “The Day I Eternally Parted With My Father.” This is an acrylic-and-oil on canvas reproduction of the airport-to-city hovercraft ticket he used on a visit to his father in an Oita hospital. It was the last time Takasaki was to see his father, who succumbed to cancer soon afterward. Of the 11 paintings of blurred and obscured tickets that make up this show, none matches the power of “The Day I Eternally Parted With My Father,” and this is wholly due to the background information, communicated in part by the title and understood more completely after speaking with the artist.

The other paintings — of tickets from a bus trip across California, a ferry boat cruise with a friend to Aburatsubo Beach in Kanagawa, and so on, appeal through their intrinsic aesthetics alone.

Although the format of white text on hazy blue is technically well executed, looks dreamy and conveys a certain nostalgia, the reason these tickets are special to the artist is not explained to the viewer.

I would contrast Takasaki’s approach with that of accomplished French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who currently has a solo exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art and is showing at the Gallery Koyanagi in Ginza. Calle also makes art from the stuff of her personal experiences, but accompanies her photographs with explanatory texts to good effect.

For “The Bronx,” a 1980 work at the Koyanagi, Calle spent eight days at an art space in that borough of New York City. She approached visitors she didn’t know and asked them to take her “to a place of their choice, wherever they wanted, in the Bronx.” Then she took a picture of them in this chosen environment.

“Bronx,” like Calle’s other early work, succeeds because the observations and comments in the texts displayed beside the photographs provide a contextualization that brings the viewer into her creative process.

Although Takasaki has brought a maturing body of work to the Senkukan, the viewer is, in a sense, left outside. Given that he has some powerful stories to tell, Takasaki would do well to allow viewers to develop a more detailed and intimate communication with his work.

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