Prinsessewal, Den Haag
52.080459226091, 4.3051629381676 View on map
They are widely known as meeting points: the white button in the arrival hall of Schiphol Airport and the gold-polished bronze button in the Hoog Catharijne shopping centre in Utrecht. But few people know that these sculptures are by the sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri. Because of its simplicity, the knot is recognised and used all over the world and for Tajiri it stands for, among other things, unification and meeting.
His buttons can also be found in The Hague. In the city of The Hague, they are not markers of places to meet, but stand-alone sculptures. In the garden of Noordeinde Palace, for instance, there is a bronze knot from 1991 with the appropriate name 'Royal Knot'. Not a royal one, by the way, but a state purchase. Started in 1967, the motif of the knot fascinated Tajiri throughout his career, because he could vary endlessly with this elementary form.
The peace of the knot contrasts with the other sculptures in Tajiri's extensive oeuvre. Violence and speed can be seen in his guards, warriors and machines, often made of metal and constructed of various parts welded or cast together. Eroticism is another recurring theme, which is particularly present in his photographic work.
Born in America to Japanese parents, Tajiri took sculpture lessons at the age of 17. In 1948, he left for Europe permanently, where he fought as a soldier in the Second World War. Settling in Paris, he was taught by famous artists such as Zadkine and Légér. He also met members of the Cobra movement there. At the invitation of Cobra member Corneille, who was very enthusiastic about his work, Tajiri took part in the Cobra exhibition in Amsterdam (1949). During this time he developed his powerful, expressive and strongly abstracted style. In 1956 he moved to Amsterdam with his Dutch girlfriend, sculptor Ferdi Jansen. Tajiri died in 2009 at his Castle Scheres in Baarlo.