jfla lecture series 16

Artist Talk with Koki Tanaka


Installation view in the Japan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition
Photo: Keizo Kioku


Nine hair stylists come together to create one hair style. Five pianists play one piano simultaneously. Artist Koki Tanaka wants you to look at everyday things in a new context – collectively. The videos and photographs of Tanaka's exhibition, abstract speaking – sharing uncertainty and collective acts, explore the relationship between creation and collaboration.

At the Artist Talk presented by the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, Tanaka and curator Gabriel Ritter will discuss the human potential unlocked during collaboration and its relation to disaster recovery, like that from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The exhibition won a Special Mention at the 55th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition last year when Tanaka represented Japan.


Date: Tuesday, March 11, 7PM 

Venue: The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
(5700 Wilshire Blvd. # 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Admission: Free


Street parking is available near JFLA. Click Here for Parking Info

About Koki Tanaka
Born in 1975; currently lives and works in Los Angeles. 
In his diverse art practice spanning video, photography, site-specific installation, and interventional projects, Koki Tanaka visualizes and reveals the multiple contexts latent in the most simple of everyday acts. In his recent projects he documents the behavior unconsciously exhibited by people confronting unusual situations, e.g. a haircut given by nine hair stylists or a piano played by five pianists simultaneously, in an attempt to show an alternative side to things that we usually overlook in everyday living.

He has shown widely: the Hammer Museum(Los Angeles), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the Taipei Biennial 2006 (Taipei), the Gwangju Biennial 2008 (Gwangju), the Asia Society (New York), the Yokohama Triennale 2011(Yokohama), the Witte de With (Rotterdam), and he was selected to represent Japan in the 55th Venice Biennale, for which he received a special mention as national participation.


About Gabriel Ritter
Gabriel Ritter assumed the role of The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art in May 2012. There he oversees the organization of exhibitions in the Concentrations series, focused on internationally emerging and underrepresented artists, as well as other exhibitions. Upcoming projects at the DMA include Concentrations series exhibitions with Stephen Lapthisophon, Slavs and Tatars, and Chosil Kil, as well as a major two-person survey of Shiraga Kazuo and Motonaga Sadamasa, co-organized with the Japan Foundation, Tokyo in 2015.

Ritter has worked internationally in museums and has served as an independent curator, organizing exhibitions of emerging artists from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, he served as one of three co-curators for the exhibition Roppongi Crossing 2013: OUT OF DOUBT at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Ritter is one of the first non-Japanese curators to participate in this triennial series of exhibitions founded in 2004.

Ritter is currently completing his Ph.D. in Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he also earned his masters of art history. Most recently he completed a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of Modern Art where he researched Japanese surrealism of the 1930-40s. Previously a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) for three years, Ritter organized Out of the Ordinary: New Video from Japan and MOCA Focus: Karl Haendel, the first solo museum exhibition and publication dedicated to the artist.