Artwork Data


De knoop (Square Knot)


Shinkichi Tajiri






h. 800 cm

Artwork Location


Carel van Bylandtlaan 5, Den Haag

City district

Haagse Hout

GPS data

52.092992018712, 4.3110423722138 View on map

Artwork Description


Somewhere in 1967 he made his first 'Knot'. With this series of sculptures and his 'Warriors', the Japanese-American artist Shinkichi Tajiri gained worldwide fame. In various formats and materials, he has made knots all over the world. There are also two in The Hague, including this square or 'Square Knot'. This dark bronze knot, twelve metres high, is strictly symmetrical, in contrast to, for example, the horizontally oriented 'Knoop' (1974) in Arrivals Hall 1 at Schiphol Airport.

Tajiri's career began after the Second World War when he left the United States. He was born there to Japanese parents. In Paris, he took lessons from famous artists such as Zadkine and Leger. He also came into contact with other progressive artists and groups such as the Cobra movement. He himself experimented a great deal with new materials and techniques (polyester, photography, video/film) and with an expressive, strongly abstracted form language inspired by both Japanese and American culture. Violence, speed and eroticism are the three most important themes in his oeuvre. Since 1956, he has lived and worked in the Netherlands, from 1962 at his castle in Baarlo in Limburg.

Tajiri chose the knot as his motif because it is one of the most basic and elementary forms used by people all over the world. It is a sign of simplicity and strength. Or as he said in an interview in the Zwolse Courant (5-12-2003): 'That knot stands for communication, unification, meeting and, if desired, mating'. By adapting the format and material to the surroundings and varying the construction of the knot, the motif continued to fascinate Tajiri for the rest of his life.