The Art of Connecting
Venue : Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT),the Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló, Valencia,Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
Organization : Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo / The Japan Foundation
Co-curator : Jonathan Watkins, Lorenza Barboni, Mizuho Kato, Koichi Kawasaki
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, is holding the 'TANAKA Atsuko - Art of Connecting' exhibition as a joint project with the Japan Foundation, the U.K.'s IKON Gallery and Spain's Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló.
TANAKA Atusko (1932-2005) began to pursue abstract expressions on the advice of KANAYAMA Akira and starting with the collage work, 'Calendar', she expressed a unique sensitivity combining delicacy and power. Later, with KANAYAMA she participated in the avant-garde 'Gutai Art Association' that was formed under the leadership of YOSHIHARA Jiro. She received attention for her 'Work (Bell)' (1955) in which twenty electric bells were rigged to ring consecutively, 'Electric Dress' (1957), which consisted of approximately one hundred fluorescent tubes and approximately eighty light bulbs, painted in nine colors of enamel paint and worn like a garment, etc., her installations and performance works standing out for their originality, even among the Gutai. Her work during this period utilized non-physical materials, such as sound, blinking lights or time, abstracting them in a way that highlighted their existence without adhering to traditional artistic expressions. She also ventured to express her experiments through painting, substituting the light bulbs and wires of her 'Electric Dress' with circles and lines, producing a huge number of variations on this theme over the course of her life. It appears that sometimes the path she took led to extremely radical developments and at others, simple repetitions, but in actual fact, all her works were connected and all were new experiments.
There is a growing movement to reevaluate Japanese postwar contemporary art, beginning with the Gutai, and TANAKA Atsuko gained particular recognition after being spotlighted in Documenta12 (2007) that was held after her death. The current exhibition will contain approximately one hundred works, including recreations of her representative works, 'Work (Bell)' and 'Electric Dress', that were reproduced under the artist's guidance, allowing the viewer to retrace her footsteps as she continually sought to explore the innovative.