More than just a dress…

The current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (one of my favourite museums!) features artist Atsuko Tanaka.  A joint project with the Japan Foundation, the U.K.’s IKON Gallery and Spain’s Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castelló, Atsuko Tanaka: The Art of Connecting showcases approximately 100 works, including recreations of Tanaka’s representative works, Work (Bell) and Electric Dress.

Atsuko Tanaka (1932-2005) was a pioneering Japanese avant-garde artist.  In 1955, she joined the Gutai group, an avant-garde artists’ movement in Japan at that time.  Her works gained international recognition after participation in Documenta 12.  Tanaka’s artworks can be seen as abstract works that rejected conventional notions of how works of art should be.  They include different media such as abstract paintings, sculptures, performances and installations featuring the use of everyday objects.

Tanaka’s best-known work is Electric Dress.  First created in 1956, the work consists of approximately one hundred fluorescent tubes and eighty light bulbs, painted in nine colours of enamel paint and worn like a garment.  In fact, the artist wore the dress to exhibitions openings.

On the exhibition, the museum explained, “Her work 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.”

On show from now till 6 May 2012, visit MOT if you are in Tokyo.


4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0022 Japan

X Sybil

(Images from MOT)

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