Takamine Tadasu

Takamine Tadasu focuses on systems such as nationality, race and gender that make up contemporary society, questioning the contradictions inherent in them by revealing them in his artwork. Having expressed himself through his body as a performer at university, he later began creating interactive works that incorporated video and sound. He is currently engaged in a wide range of creative practice, spanning genres by collaborating with musicians, designing stage sets, performing and directing stage productions, always making raw bodily sensation the focus of his sensibility while intuitively questioning the preconceived ideas that are referred to as "common sense."


In the series Japan Syndrome, which deals with the changing social situation and awareness of people in Japan in the wake of the nuclear accident triggered by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Takamine examined using various modes of expression, including theatre, video and public events, how individuals struggle against collectively formed consciousness and social pressure. This time he tackles the challenging subject of the "torment" experienced as an artist who quickly perceives a sense of impending crisis in the authoritarian nature of Japanese politics laid bare, in the way even freedom of thought might be usurped, and in being exposed to various pressures with their attendant physical and psychological pain. By using his powers of imagination to consider why such torment occurs before the onset of the indescribable horror in which the oppression of those able to wield power negates the small yet animated cries of varied individuals, Takamine is calling for preparedness against this attack in order to rewrite the worst-case scenario. His interest in the violent human desire for domination that has been expressed again and again throughout history inevitably focuses our attention on past relationships between dominator and dominated in the Asian region. As an artist he is attempting a preemptive strike in the form of resisting by first imagining situations in which the dignity of the individual is usurped.

Created in Taiwan, Taiwan Syndrome: Food Safety work employs the same format as video work Japan Syndrome, in which actors on stage reenacted conversations among people in shops on the issues of nuclear power, the Fukushima disaster and the like. Taiwan Syndrome: Food Safety shifts the topic to “food safety,” which has become a great concern of people in Taiwan today. By capturing spontaneous reactions, utterances, and unconscious behaviors, this work reflects the social and political atmosphere from perspectives grounded in the actual lives of people. This work was developed out of discussions and in collaboration with students of Taipei National University of the Arts, where Takamine holds a visiting professorship

Born in Kagoshima in 1968, Tadasu Takamine currently lives in Akita. While studying lacquer work at Kyoto City University of Arts and Music, he became a member of the performance group Dumb Type. He later did graduate work at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS) in the Gifu Prefecture and began making interactive installations and media art that incorporated video and sound. Since the 2000s, Takamine has produced numerous performances based on the expressive power of the human body. He is engaged in a wide range of genre-spanning creative work, such as collaborating with musicians and directing stage productions. His recent solo shows include Too Far to See (Yokohama Museum of Art, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Kirishima Open-Air Museum, 2011-2012), and Tadasu Takamine's Cool Japan (Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, 2012). In 2013, he was invited by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to do a one-year residency in Berlin. In 2014, Takamine participated in Japan Syndrome – Art and Politics after Fukushima, an event held at the HAU (Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin). His published works include A Lover from Korea (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2008).