In recent years Koki Tanaka has employed a variety of methods to produce works on the relationality that arises between human beings. In Tanaka’s works, it is possible to see the process of people who have the same occupation, who employ a common language that only they understand, clashing with each other. As well as this, there are what Tanaka calls “collective acts”: experiments of various sorts which still lack a fixed destination.
On 11 March 2011, Japan experienced a massive earthquake and tsunami, as well as an accident at a nuclear power plant. The situation remains unresolved two years on. Tanaka attempts to address this issue in a uniquely abstract fashion. For example, a haircut carried out by 9 hairdressers at the same time (second attempt) (2010) was shot before the earthquake. But to those of us now in Japan, who have gone through such a definitive experience, it seems like a metaphor for working together to build a post-quake society. Thus the tasks and acts which Tanaka sets up can be read in different ways according to the viewer’s personal context. With the quality of allowing many different readings, Tanaka’s works will, at the geographically distant Venice venue, provide a platform for the overlaying of yet more, new readings.
About Koki Tanaka (田中功起)
Born in 1975 in Tochigi, Koki Tanaka graduated from Tokyo Zokei University (BFA) in 2000 and Tokyo University of the Arts (MFA) in 2005. Currently live and works in Kyoto, Japan.
In his diverse art practice spanning video, photography, site-specific installations and interventional projects, Tanaka visualized and reveals the multiple contexts latent in the most simple of everyday acts. In his early object-oriented works, Tanaka experiments with ordinary objects to explore ways offering a possible escape from our everyday routine. Later in his works, Tanaka asking the participants to collectively navigate tasks that in and of themselves are out of the ordinary, he then documented behaviors that were unconsciously exhibited by people confronting unusual situations, such as one piece of pottery made by five potters and a piano played by five pianists simultaneously, seeking to reveal group dynamics in a micro-society and temporal community. Following the disaster on March 11. 2011 in Japan, Koki Tanaka has employed a variety of methods to produce works on the relationality that arises between human beings, there are what Tanaka calls “collective acts”: experiments of various sorts which still lack a fixed destination.
Photo by Wen Peng
Image and Text: the shop, ©Authors, the shop, 2019
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