“A lurking, gnawing sense of dread, a fear that all is not well with the world persists throughout Tabaimo’s work. Be it a cook using human ingredients, a turtle being flushed down a toilet or nerves running between the floors of a dollhouse, the imagery that makes up the artist’s animated videos is at once nightmarish and alluring,” says Ashley Rawlings in ArtAsiaPacific magazine. Using drawings and coloration that evoke the hand-made nature of traditional Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) and combining them with sophisticated computer technology, Tabaimo’s animated installations offer a surreal, complex and sometimes disturbing vision of contemporary Japanese society.
In 2011, Tabaimo represented Japan at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia with a work titled teleco-soup. A completely immersive environment, the installation played with the idea of an "inverted" soup, or the inversion of relations between water and sky, fluid and container, self and world. Coined by the artist, this phrase builds upon an intellectual tradition in Japan that grapples with the country's identity as an island state, or what in recent years has come to be known as the "Galapagos Syndrome," originally used to describe the incompatibility between Japanese technology and international markets but now applicable to multiple facets of Japanese society in the age of globalization.
Tabaimo (born 1975, Hyogo, Japan), represented Japan at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2011) and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Asian Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2016); San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (2016); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, Sydney (2014); Tabaimo: Boundary Layer, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London (2010); TABAIMO: Danmen, Yokahama Museum of Art, Tokyo (traveled to the National Museum of Art, Osaka) (2009-10); Tabaimo, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2009); Tabaimo, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2006); YOROYORON: Tabaimo, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2006). International group exhibitions include: the Yokohama Triennale (2001); the Sao Paolo Biennale (2002); the 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2006); and the 52nd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2007). Interdisciplinary collaboration is also a major part of Tabaimo’s artistic endeavor; she has provided the visual elements to performances with Ohad Naharin’s Batsheva Dance Company, choreographer Maki Morishita, architect Yuko Nagayama, and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Art, Osaka; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MUSAC, Spain; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Asia Society Museum, New York, NY and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Tabaimo lives and works in Karuizawa, Japan.