Tadasu Takamine

Tadasu Takamine is one of the most controversial, thought provoking, irreverent media, video and installation artist working in Japan right now. He is a frequent collaborator with other performance artists, such as the influential artists collective Dumb Type. He has been an artist-in- residence at Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts, Banff Center for the Arts and Saw Video Centre for the Media Arts, Ottawa. He has exhibited extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, as well as Australia, Israel, Mexico and South Africa.

Takamine’s individual performance and moving image works engage almost masochistic levels of endurance and frequently focus on sexuality, humanity and the body. Two of his works include God Bless America and Kimaru-San.

In the ironic video God Bless America which premiered in the Venice Biennale under the curation of Hou Han-ru, Takamine used a huge block of clay to create an animated head. The lump of clay constantly sings ‘God Bless America.’ Around the head, in a red studio room, are frames of the artist and his female assistant eating, drinking, sleeping and making love. It is the obsessive dedication to their work that makes such a wonderful piece.

Takamine’s video Kimaru-San featured a video of the artist assisting a friend who is unable to speak or move unaided, the assistance includes relieving his friend’s sexual tension. Takamine extended the boundaries of traditional ‘personal care’, challenged the stereotypical equation of disability with asexuality and thoroughly questioned the notions of societal concern of physically challenged individuals in our midst. In a performance in IKON Gallery as the film was projected, Takamine strapped his head into an ergonomic metal cage, smashing panes of glass with his head and grinding the shards with his forehead.

One of Takamine’s exhibitions in Australia involved him driving from his residency at 24HRArt in Darwin to Gertrude Contemporary Art Space in Melbourne, arriving just in time to install his work during the opening-night event. Takamine travelled across the northwest of the country, along the Tannami Track to Alice Springs, to Lake Eyre, and finally into Melbourne. The artist used his journey through the Australian landscape as an exploration of cultural exchange, and as a catalyst for producing a number of new video, photographic and ceramic works en-route. On the opening night of the exhibition, Takamine installed his exhibition in the presence of gallery visitors, printing large-scale photographic works in-situ, and hanging numerous other pre-prepared prints. This was also the first opportunity to view video documentation of the trip, as well as Takamine’s newly created ceramic works produced using Raku firings on indigenous sites.


Photography by: The Flying Circus Project

Projects supported by House on Fire

Participation in Thematic Event:

Phantasm and Politics