Atsuko Tanaka


pastel on paper
5 3/8 x 5 5/8 inches

Atsuko Tanaka entered the Gutai group in 1955, a year after its formation, and quickly became one of the most compelling members through her experimental paintings, sculptures, and installations. Two of her best-known works – Electric Dress (1956), a sculptural mass of painted, flickering light bulbs that Tanaka wore, and Work (Bell) (1955), a sound installation co-owned by the Dallas Museum of Art and The Rachofsky Collection – utilize non-art materials that are temporal and intangible (ie: electricity, sound, and light). As a result of the plans and sketches that accompanied these works, Tanaka established an abstract vocabulary connected to electricity and circuitry that permeated her work for a number of decades. In this delicate drawing, brightly colored circles (reminiscent of light bulbs) are surrounded by a chaotic network of lines that connect them, resulting in a beautiful meditation on the language and materials of the modern world. Tanaka’s work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions, including Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim earlier this year, and retrospectives of her work have been held at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery; Im Taxispalais Gallery, Innsbruck; and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.