Critics’ Picks

Aki Sasamoto, Strange Attractors, 2010. Performance view, Take Ninagawa, Tokyo.

Aki Sasamoto, Strange Attractors, 2010. Performance view, Take Ninagawa, Tokyo.


Aki Sasamoto

Take Ninagawa
2-12-4 Higashi Azabu, Minatoku 1F
December 18, 2010–January 29, 2011

This exhibition marks the Japanese debut of Aki Sasamoto’s 2010 installation-performance Strange Attractors, and presents an adaptation of the eponymous piece she contributed to the last Whitney Biennial. The show is a homecoming for the Yokohama-born artist, who is now based in New York. By changing the initial conditions of the work to include new parameters of Japanese language and culture, Sasamoto altered its entire composition.

In mathematics, a strange attractor is a collection of diverse elements, perceived as a single object, that becomes the final point of a dynamical system. The artist plays with this concept by throwing into the mix the colloquial metaphor of strangers’ attraction. Sasamoto’s artistic reconceptualization of strange attractors likewise combines disparate objects (human-size cardboard tubes, suspended fishnet sacks containing glass, metal sculptures shaped into visual models of strange attractors, video and audio equipment for broadcasting the performance and providing its sound track), which, along with the itinerant body of the performer, are meant to form a single dynamic structure. During the performance, the artist continuously moves around the space, squeezing her body in and out of cardboard tubes, touching and rolling around objects, and drawing diagrams in a mock presentation portion of her narrative.

Replete with references to mathematical, gastronomical, and anatomical doughnuts, tubes and hemorrhoids, Strange Attractors presents a multiplex word and movement narrative of the inside/outside dichotomy (at some point Sasamoto offers viewers the challenge of eating a doughnut from the inside out). The show stands as a paradigm of the artist’s kinetic practice—her constant movement across the lines of installation and performance, concrete and conceptual, mathematics and metaphors.