Saeborg and Tsuda Michiko Win Tokyo Contemporary Art Award 2022–2024
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The artists were chosen for their insights into the exploitation of animals and the impacts of ubiquitous cameras and screens.
Saeborg, Cycle of L performance at The Museum of Art, Kochi, 2020. Photo: Taisuke Tsurui.
The TCAA was established in 2018 to help mid-career artists make breakthroughs in their work. It comprises a ¥3 million (US $26,000) monetary prize, ¥2 million ($17,000) to support activities abroad, an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in March 2024, and the publication of a monograph to help promote the artists' work internationally.
Born in Toyama in 1981, Saeborg caricatures the relationship between people and livestock through performances that incorporate brightly coloured latex animal costumes. The costumes are highly restrictive, requiring a great deal of care for the wearers. This need for care during production resonates with the artist's broader efforts to expand our sympathy towards other beings.
The TCAA selection committee recognised Saeborg's 'longstanding commitment to social inclusion, which is inseparable from her attitude of respecting all life equally in her artistic practice, as something we can all relate to as we strive to become a society that truly accepts diversity.'
Tsuda Michiko's installations and performances explore the impacts of now ubiquitous cameras and screens. Recently, she has also analysed the body movements of characters in director Ozu Yasujirō's films in order to highlight hidden gender roles.
'Both her artistic practice and art are exemplary in how artists invite the public to become self-reflective and critically aware of the need to participate in systemic change — not just personal transformation — to create mutual understanding in society,' the committee said. They recognised her for 'the consistently motivated and inquisitive approach that permeates her work'.
The winners of the award were decided after the selection committee conducted on-site and online studio visits with nominees.
'These exchanges and deep engagements make this award much more than a final outcome of who wins but a meaningful learning experience for the jury members and hopefully the artists as well,' said Carol Yinghua Lu, a member of the committee and the director of Beijing's Inside-Out Art Museum.
The selection committee's other members are: Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy from the Kunstinstituut Melly; Takashi Mizuki from the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT); Nomura Shino from Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery; Washida Meruro from the Towada Art Center; and Kondo Yuki from Tokyo Arts and Space.
The TCAA 2022–2024 award ceremony and symposium will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo on 20 March. Works by Fujii Hikaru and Yamashiro Chikako, who won the TCAA for 2020–2022, will also show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo from 19 March.