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It happened to be...…


            I was born female

            I was born in Kobe Japan, 1936

            I grew up in Tokyo from 5 years old


I chose…..

            to become an artist

            to live in New York City in 1962

           to become American citizen in 2004


Through my artwork, I am searching for another vision and way of thinking for my life in the space between installation works, sculptures and wall works. For forty years I have used overlooked objects from our daily life as my media. Discarded materials are important to me because of environmental issues and also as a reflection of my current life. My choice of materials and interpretation are influenced by the differences that I experience between life in America and in Japan, where I grew up. I often use repetition and aim to create energy and chaos, within quiet stillness. In Hyperallergic, Seth Rodney wrote, “[Kawata] works with meticulous manipulation of unassuming everyday materials that entered her new life [in America]. At the same time her work is a rigorously modernist practice that walks the bridge between the 1960’s and now.”


Bauhaus and Dadaism spoke to the wounded youth in post-World War II Japan and I was not an exception. I grew up learning from the Gutai Group and observing them in my formative years in Japan. Serpent, my 70’ long safety pin sculptures wrapped like a sinuous Gutai around a tree.  At the same time learning these philosophies from classes taught in the Bauhaus curriculum became a solid core for my way of thinking and art-making.


As I enter this last phase of my life, I yearn to make large and small scale works that will have a lasting presence.  I’ve made more than thirty maquettes, some that I hope to enlarge and fabricate in permanent recycled materials so that people actually walk through them.


The different culture I encountered when I took my first step on this continent had a powerful impact on me. Most of my work is related to this impression I had in those early days.

Tamiko Kawata

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