Tomoko Takahashi at Beaconsfield, London (1997)

R.J. Preece
artdesigncafé - art | 15 September 2009
This review first appeared in World Sculpture News, 4(1), page 52 in 1998.

Tomoko Takahashi at Beaconsfield

Earlier last summer Tomoko Takahashi caused a stir in the regional press with her installation work, winning first prize for her entry at the Open East International show in Norwich, England. Her installation was described as “uncannily like two storerooms full of stacked furniture, paint pots, easels and canvases.” While it was predicable press prey, her recent exhibition showed that her installation work has more depth than subject matter.

In two separate spaces the 31-year old Takahashi showed musically oriented visual compositions of manipulated chaos. For Installed Studio Recording (1997) she worked with the composer Neill Quinton to produce an interplay alternatively inspired and fused by music and visual expression. Tomoko Takahashi’s photographs inspired by her studio and the site were organized into a visual score. From the photographs Quinton made a studio recording, which in turn inspired the installation. Together the installation was created with original photographs showing a sense of rhythm and movement, Quinton’s music sheets, an acetate sheet with rhythmic lines partially covered by open film containers and other packaging.

Walking into the space of the second installation was like “walking” into the artist’s brain. Using the space’s numerous electrical sockets for multi-media events, the artist showed her fascination with electronic machinery. Using her vast personal collection, objects borrowed from Beaconsfield, in addition to contributions gleaned from her friends’ storage areas, a wide variety of electrical products were arranged — electric extension wires, a slide machine, TVs, computers, an amplifier, and an open reel tape deck— which were taken apart and plugged in. Amidst other “junk,” a slide machine on timer clicked blindly away and a blank videotape played on a TV screen.

In the high, echoing space, Tomoko Takahashi created an abstracted emotional portrait that, in its orderly spaces and compartmentalized chaos, produced an effect simultaneously unsettling, hypnotic, and soothing, suggesting a technological shrine. White lines on the floor linked these autobiographical parts diagrammatically with forced connections.