Tatsumi Orimoto retrospective | MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil | January-April 2008

Opening January 10th, 2008 at 7 pm with the performance "50 Grandmothers"

The Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto is well known in Brazil since he participated twice at the São Paulo Biennial: in 1991 with the performance “Bird, Bread Man in a City” and in 2002 with the series of photographs “Art Mama” and the performance “Two Bread Men”. In 2001 he participated at the Venice Biennale where he conquered the European public through his performative presence as well as by the presentation of bizarre photos where he presented his mother and neighbors with a tire on their neck or presented them in a big paper box.

The first retrospective exhibition of Tatsumi Orimoto outside of Japan to be presented in MASP coincides with the centenary of the Japanese Immigration to Brazil which will be celebrated in 2008. This exhibition will be then the first event planned for this context starting on January 10th and finishing at middle April 2008.

MASP was built in 1968 at the Avenida Paulista, the main road in São Paulo, to preserve and present its collection composed at that time by 7500 art works and 60.000 publications in the library. It developed as one of the most prominent institutions in South America (www.masp.art.br).

Tatsumi Orimotos photo production is intimately connected with his performances, in which he deals with trivial subjects. For many years he's been using his own environment as subject for his artistic production. His works of art became renowned with his provoking performance, in which he decorated his mother with car tires and putted her into a cardboard box at the Venice Biennale in 2001. The current works of him result from a subjective, familiar outlook where Tatsumi Orimoto reflects the everyday life. The private, homely atmosphere appears in public, the pictures remain authentic to the reality: Mother and son in their own kitchen, living room and garden being presented out of the introspective context with transparency to the society.

In his early 20's Tatsumi Orimoto worked in the USA as an assistant of Nam June Paik. During the Fluxus movement his artworks dealt with the matter of communication. An important example for this were his uncommon “Bread-Man” performances, where he communicated with people on the street all over the world while he had some loafs of bread corded around his head.

The planned exhibition conceived for MASP will be the first retrospective of his artworks out of Japan. The exhibition will start with an introduction including documentation of his first initial period. His photographic works, which represent a documentation of his performance activities, will compose the main part of the exhibition. One image will be presented at the façade of the museum to acquire a direct confrontation with the public being part of the urban space of Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. Since the mid-90's Tatsumi Orimoto turned to present the relation between him and his mother because he is responsible for her welfare assistance. Being affected with Alzheimer and Depressions, his mother needs to be tended by him 24 hours per day. Concurrent she became the vital element of his artistic production. The artist ended up developing an “Art Mama Diary” as homage to her related to her and her existence.

This situation reflects the reality and worries in the contemporary Japanese society transferred automatically to the big Japanese community living in Brazil. That`s the importance of presenting this exhibition as part of the Celebration of the Japanese Immigration to Brazil.

This exhibition is planned to be a travelling exhibition through Brasil (Museu Dragão do Mar/Fortaleza), England (Baltic Art Center), North America, Mexico (Museu Carrilo Gil) and South America.

The first approach that the curator Tereza de Arruda had with Tatsumi Orimoto's work was in 1991 at São Paulo Biennial. Since then she followed the development of his production in different international exhibitions. They have been working together since 2005 and this partnership resulted in different projects, including his most recent solo exhibition at C/O Berlin as part of ASIANART curated by Tereza de Arruda as part of the Festival Asian- Pacific –Weeks 2007.

The exhibition is MASP will present works realized in the last 30 years and will be his first retrospective out of Japan.

download press release 20.11.2007 [pdf]

download exhibition layout [pdf]