tabaimo: mekurumeku - Museum of Contemporary Art


tabaimo: mekurumeku - Museum of Contemporary Art
– Opening 3 Jul 2014
MEDIA contact:
Courtney Miller
0429 572 869
[email protected]
Japanese artist Tabaimo’s ambitious video installations will immerse
visitors this winter within constantly moving, changing environments
that combine visual imagery and sound.
Using single or multiple screens within purpose-built architecture, the works depict everyday
people, cityscapes, objects and events that unfold with often surprising outcomes.
For her MCA Australia solo exhibition, curated by Chief Curator Rachel Kent, Tabaimo presents
six video installations from the early 2000s to the present, as well as a suite of delicate drawings
that illustrate her creative process. Drawn by hand then animated on the computer, Tabaimo’s
images sit between tradition and modernity, recalling Edo-period Japanese woodblock prints in
their line work and style. She employs rich colour combinations and shading reminiscent of the
prints of master artist Hokusai (1760–1849).
Museum of Contemporary Art Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said that ‘for many viewers,
Tabaimo’s appeal is her unusual aesthetic: a combination of surreal happenings, delicate line
drawings and the softly modulated coloration of woodblock prints transformed by their animation.’
Rachel Kent remarked that ‘Tabaimo is one of the most exciting artists to come out of Japan
today, and the MCA Australia is honoured to present her largest solo exhibition to date. She has
created two extraordinary new installations, which respond to the Museum‘s architecture, peeling
back the walls to reveal the ocean outside.’
dolefullhouse 2007
video installation
6:21 minute loop
Installation view, Philagrafika,
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2010
Image courtesy the artist and
Philadelphia Museum of Art
© the artist
Photograph: Jason Wierzbicki
Tabaimo: Mekurumeku
– Opening 3 Jul 2014
Set in motion as animated sequences of imagery in theatrical, set-like spaces, the works
introduce audiences into hidden corners of the human psyche to reveal a world of beauty,
anxiety and horror.
The title MEKURUMEKU indicates a ‘tearing apart’ of layers to reveal hidden truths within. The
artist’s video installations do not follow one narrative trajectory and have no single message to
convey. Rather, they seek to reveal what she describes as ‘aspects of what is hidden’ in ordinary
public life. Individual works are linked in their dream-like, surreal quality: moments of irrationality
and violence erupt then disappear again behind a veneer of public civility. The works evoke the
world about us, but also one within, sitting between the public sphere and an equally immense,
private world of the individual unconscious.
Tabaimo encourages gallery visitors to use their bodies and engage physically as they move
through her video installations. Her custom designed architecture channels visitors through the
MCA, surrounding them with projected imagery from in front and behind, as well as overhead
and even beneath their feet.
Left: Tabaimo, Japanese Commuter
Train (still), 2001, video installation.
Image courtesy the artist, James Cohan
Gallery, New York and Shanghai, and
Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo © the artist
Middle: Tabimo, Haunted House 2003
video installation. Installation view,
TABAIMO, Fondation Cartier pour l’art
contemporain, Paris, 2006–07. Image
courtesy the artist, James Cohan
Gallery, New York and Shanghai, and
Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo © the artist.
Photograph: Patrick Gries
Right: Tabaimo Haunted House
(still) 2003, video installation. Image
courtesy the artist, James Cohan
Gallery, New York and Shanghai, and
Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo © the artist
In today’s entertainment culture, Tabaimo observes, ‘we have become used to sitting passively
and watching events before us.’ Her works offer an alternative, immersing us within their shifting
imagery and dynamic spaces.
About the Artworks
Introducing the MCA’s Level 1 south galleries is Japanese Commuter Train (2001), a six-screen
hexagonal installation that mimics the interior of a conventional passenger train. People come
and go, apartment blocks flash by the windows and strange, unexpected events take place as
though in a dream.
Haunted House (2003) is a circular projection that glides back and forth across a curved screen,
like a periscope, to reveal a dense urban landscape within which moments of violence quietly
unfold. The single projection dolefullhouse (2007) depicts a doll’s house and giant human hands
manipulating its contents.
The ocean forms a recurring motif within Tabaimo’s art, as a meditative and destructive
natural force beyond human control. In the Level 1 north gallery, BLOW (2009) comprises a
large cylindrical structure that viewers walk through, like a tunnel, as watery bubbles swirl
beneath their feet. Also included are two major new installations mekuru meku ru and TOZEN,
commissioned especially for the MCA, that imagine parallel worlds in micro and macrocosm,
travelling through the human body to the vastness of the ocean beyond.
About the Artist
Tabaimo was born in Hyogo, Japan in 1975; she lives and works in Nagano.
This exhibition is accompanied by an MCA catalogue publication, available in the MCA Store;
and the media app MCA Insight, available on iPhone and Android.
Tabaimo: MEKURUMEKU is supported by the Japan Foundation, the supporting sponsor is Onitsuka Tiger.
Supported by