Exhibition: September 13–October 25, 2014
Opening reception: Saturday, September 13, 6–8pm
Press Release: Download .pdf
Total Body Conditioning, by Mika Tajima, Astrid Jacomme, The Wall Art Magazine, October 22, 2014.
Hot Tubs Get the Spa Treatment at Art in General — Plus: A Bauhaus Bonus!, Jessica Dawson, The Village Voice, October 22, 2014. View article.
9 Openings to Attend in New York This Week, ARTnews Editors, ARTnews, September 8, 2014. View article.
Artists on Artists: Mika Tajima by Kareem Estefan, Kareem Estefan, BOMB Magazine, Summer 2014. View article.
Mika Tajima, “Total Body Conditioning,” TimeOut New York, August 22, 2014. View article.
Artist Mika Tajima on Shaping the Human Body Through Sculpture, Ian Wallace, Artspace, June 3, 2014. View article.
Art in General is pleased to present Total Body Conditioning, a New Commission by Mika Tajima.
Total Body Conditioning is an exhibition by Mika Tajima comprised of three scenes—display, work, and fitness—that invoke technologies developed to control and affect the body. These are techniques that shape bodily experience of time and space, taking the human body as a target of power. The works in the exhibition include hot tub painting objects, a series of abstract woven textile portraits, and transparent paintings set to changing ambient lighting and sound sequences. Each scene in the exhibition traces the management of the body in different spaces and temporal contexts from factory assembly lines to therapeutic “after work” locations.
The exhibition takes its name from a physical conditioning program developed to adapt the body to an exercise regimen emphasizing endurance, flexibility, and performance through the seriation of time and the partitioning of bodily space. Total Body Conditioning refers to the complete investment of the body, taking the Greek practice “to care for oneself” into the Foucauldian register of discipline and control exacted on the self—where individual practices of freedom are intertwined with modes of domination.
Created specifically for the exhibition, Lucite cast acrylic sheet hot tub painting objects that are reverse-spray enameled in saturated gradient colors ground the gallery space. These new hot tub objects are ergonomically molded to the human form, underlining how the body is articulated in relation to an object. The invention of the hot tub began out of an aviation company, which later developed hydraulic pumps for medical therapy before evolving into a social recreation with its multi-seat tubs. Here the tub form acts as a container for the body and paint, fusing figuration with abstraction.
Tajima will also present a new group of works from her “Furniture Art” series consisting of spray enameled transparent paintings each subtitled by a geographic location—Shikoku, Ojo Caliente, Kerala—drawing on the psychogeographic associations produced by the affective names of industrial colors and paints. These works among others in the exhibition will be set to shifting lighting and sound sequences. In one scene, the lighting color temperature is choreographed to a soundtrack of musical cues that signal problems on the assembly line to workers in a Toyota factory.
The exhibition will feature a new series of “Negative Entropy” acoustic woven textile portraits derived from recordings of Toyota-powered Jacquard looms, an assembly line at a Toyota car factory in Japan, and a server colocation center. These recordings were transmuted into image files and physically interpreted by a weaving designer into a Jacquard fabric. The woven textiles were then stretched over custom acoustic panels, whereby they assume the function of sound- deadening tiles, similar to those used in recording studios to isolate sounds made by individual performers.
Before Toyota began manufacturing cars, the company was built on the mechanization of the weaving process through the power loom and the streamlining of factory production in the early 20th century. To this day, Toyota continues to manufacture power looms alongside the production of cars, applying the principle of “jidoka”—the core of Toyota’s production method of lean manufacturing that defines the relationship between machines and workers (referred to as “automation with a human touch.”) Through extreme control of time and space demonstrated by this global production system, the natural body comes in tension with the machinic body.
Total Body Conditioning will feature a sound collaboration between New Humans and Alvin Aronson, a NYC-based DJ and musician. Aronson’s forthcoming debut for White Material records is scheduled for release in 2014.
Special thanks to Eleven Rivington, Greehouse Media, Alvin Aronson, Madeline Best, Lucite Lux, and Dynasty Spas
Born 1975, Los Angeles, CA. Lives and works in New York.
Mika Tajima employs sculpture, painting, video, music, and performance, often drawing on contradictions in modernist design and architecture to consider how the performing subject (e. g., speaker, dancer, designer, factory worker, musician, filmmaker) is constructed in spaces in which material objects outline action and engagement. Tajima’s most recent work extends her interrogation of “the built environment and the maximized performer to the global flow of life energies sought by unraveling systems.” Tajima also works collaboratively under the moniker New Humans, including projects with Vito Acconci, Charles Atlas, Judith Butler, and C. Spencer Yeh, among others.
Tajima’s work has been shown internationally, at venues including the South London Gallery, London; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; SculptureCenter and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York City; Bass Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Tajima lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA from Columbia University.
General Support of Art in General is provided by General Hardware Manufacturing Inc.; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Lambent Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the William Talbott Hillman Foundation; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; and Jerome Foundation. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, and Cher Lewis, and Commissioners’ Circle members Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Richard Massey, Leslie Ruff, and Jeremy E. Steinke.
Additional special event support provided by ROOT[Drive-In]; additional support for Total Body Conditioning provided by Greehouse Media, Lucite Lux, and Dynasty Spas with special thanks to Eleven Rivington, Alvin Aronson, and Madeline Best