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Tatsumi Orimoto
Art X Life


 

Art X Life

1-2 Todoroki 

Nakahara Ward 

Kawasaki 

Kanagawa 211-0052

2016

 A major retrospective of work by Tatsumi Orimoto, curated for Kawasaki City Museum by Masafumi Fukagawa. A a resident of Kawasaki, the artist has been at the forefront of contemporary art for more than 40 years. His international presence includes a show at the Venice Biennale. His works are full of unique ideas with the power to surprise. For instance in “Bread Man” from the 1990s, he attached baguettes to his body and travelled the world holding performances with local people he encountered along the way. In the late 1990s, he became known worldwide for his “Art Mama” series in which his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and for whom Orimoto is a caretaker, makes appearances. These collaborations with his beloved mother have been picked up by the media, appearing on TV and in newspapers.

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"Tatsumi Orimoto has a theory about his recent popularity. “After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, so many people wanted art that was warm and funny,” he says as he shows me around an exhibition of his graphic art and objects at his hometown art venue, the Kawasaki City Museum. Although it is not clear how Orimoto’s work can serve as an antidote to terrorism, it is definitely cheerful and even life-affirming. After starting out as a conceptual artist in the late ’60s, the 56-year-old finally made his name in the early ’90s as a performance artist, traveling the world with bundles of bread tied to his face, delighting people not as Orimoto, but as “Breadman.” 

The various adventures of his crusty alter ego are captured in a series of posters and postcards, including one showing Breadman joining a bread line for street people in New York City. Such escapades in the name of art naturally provoked some hostility, but for Orimoto, even home is not free of negative responses to his work. “In Tokyo, they don’t like my performance,” he says a little sadly. “They give me dirty looks. Some ladies say to their children, ‘Hey, don’t touch him,’ like I’m crazy. Also, people’s faces never laugh. They’re tight and serious.”
 - C.B. Liddel - Japan Times


"Tatsumi Orimoto’s “Art x Life” at the Kawasaki City Museum comprises videos, drawings, posters, sculptures, photographs and newspapers spanning his career. The exhibition occupies two wings of the museum, with the central hall between hung with large fabric prints of the artist and his mother. Throughout artworks are accompanied by documentation and archival material, communicating a sense of Orimoto’s biography, methods and ideas, the interlacing of which is summarized by the exhibition title.  Kawasaki is Orimoto’s hometown and much of the work on display was produced there and concerns issues pertinent to the area. The exhibition begins with selections from the ‘Art Mama’ series, which focuses on Orimoto’s care for his elderly mother, who suffers from both Alzheimer’s Disease and deafness. 

Care issues are of growing relevance in Japan, where now almost one hundred eighty thousand people between 15-29 years old tend to a family member. With government projections showing that by 2055 around 40% of Japanese citizens will be sixty-five or over, homecare is an increasingly common lifestyle. Orimoto conveys the complexities and emotional difficulties connected to this demographic through absurd, dark and humorous performances and events."
 - Calum Sutherland - Tokyo Art Beat

                            

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 Mariko Akaku

Waugh Office was established in 2011 by Julia Waugh and Mark Waugh,

 as a hybrid platform curating exhibitions, events and publications internationally

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