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Spotlight Artist: TABAIMO


Japanese Commuter Train (2001)

video installation


Tabaimo was born in Hyogo, Japan in 1975. Tabaimo’s drawings and video installations probe the unsettling themes of isolation, contagion, and instability that seem to lurk beneath daily existence in contemporary Japan. She draws aesthetic inspiration for her animated videos from a combination of Japanese art forms—ukiyoe woodcuts, manga, and anime—while she often sets her layered, surrealistic narratives in domestic interiors and communal spaces such as public restrooms, commuter trains, and bathhouses. Tabaimo populates her work with uncanny characters that, either through mutation or as victims of inexplicable violence, become fragmented in their relationships to the environment and their own identity. Installed in theatrical, stage-like settings, her work is attuned to the architecture and the viewers within it. (exerpt from ​


Essential Questions

  • How does her work draw on the traditional artwork of Japan? How does she diverge?

  • What is the connection between her work and the history of animation/anime in Japan?

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing video installaiton vs. just video?

  • What kinds of images does she use in her work? How might her work be interpreted?



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