SAM’s Asian Art Museum presents Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi Nov 11, 2016 – Feb 26, 2017, featuring video installations from contemporary Japanese artist Tabaimo alongside historic works from SAM’s Asian art collection curated by the artist.
The exhibition centers around the Japanese tradition of Utsushi, which is translated variously as “appropriation” or “emulation.” Utsushi is part of traditional Japanese art across numerous fields, including calligraphy, painting, sculpture, architecture, lacquer, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and basketry. By replicating the techniques and style of a master, an artist experiences firsthand the technology, material requirements and aesthetic refinement necessary to produce an artwork of the utmost quality. An Utsushi artwork may incorporate a traditional design into a new work, or attempt to surpass a masterpiece through subtle changes.
Taking over the museum’s south wing, Tabaimo has installed eight video installations, including four new ones created for the exhibit. Thousands of her hand-drawn images are brought to life in a surreal, subversive and darkly humorous style. Contrasting the past with the present, the works meld traditional imagery and elements with references to contemporary Japanese comics and animation. In galleries adjacent to Tabaimo’s Utsushi will be paintings, prints and furnishings from SAM’s collection that inspired the artist. Among them will be the works of Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock prints and the early 17th-century ink-and-gold Crows screens.
“Tabaimo is a groundbreaking artist working today,” says Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO. “It’s very exciting to not only present her thought-provoking work, but also to see it in conversation with the many treasures of the museum’s Asian art collection. It’s a fitting way to celebrate the museum’s legacy in Seattle as we embark on a renovation and expansion project that will bring this jewel of a building into the 21st century and protect the collection for generations to come.”
The exhibition is the second featuring a guest curator made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation., supporting programs and initiatives in Asian art. The first was last year’s Paradox of Place: Contemporary Korean Art, the first exhibition of Korean contemporary art in Seattle in a decade.
Related Programs and Events at SAAM
November 11, Exploring Tabaimo and Utsushi
Celebrate the opening and explore the first major exhibition curated by acclaimed Japanese artist Tabaimo with an overview by SAM’s Curator of Japanese and Korean Art, Xiaojin Wu, followed by a conversation with the artist.
January 26–February 5, Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser
Experience this multidisciplinary project collaboration between composer and musician Wayne Horvitz and two Japan-based artists: video artist and VJ Yohei Saito, and dancer/choreographer Yukio Suzuki. Using recordings of his work performed by the Seattle Symphony in 2015, Horvitz will compose a new electronic score with video created by Yohei Saito. Yukio Suzuki will perform several short dance improvisations daily inside the installation. Supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
There will be four After Hours performances in the two weeks following this opening. Each night will feature a different ensemble. performing within the installation. The first is January 27, featuring Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Skerik (saxophone), Beth Fleenor (clarinet), and Yukio Suzuki (dance). The other three performances will be on January 31, February 3 and February 4.
February 4, Free First Saturday and Lunar New Year Celebration
Celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rooster with live music, martial arts performances, dress up, story time and family tours. Take part in drop-in art activities inspired by Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi.
Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi At Asian Art Museum
When: Nov 1, 2016 – Feb 26, 2017
Where: Asian Art Museum (1400 E Prospect St, Seattle 98112)