Tabaimo: Mekurumeku

Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 01, 2014 No Comments

em>From Andrew Frost

There is a certain visual quality of a particular kind of animated short film that seems almost universal – a style found in the sketchy, jumpy, hand-drawn cell animations made in Eastern Europe during the 1960s, in the seemingly endless output of the Canadian Film Board in the 1970s and 80s, and the purposefully semi-primitive work of artists such as William Kentridge. Even in the age of computer animation that style never seems to grow old and in a new survey exhibition of the work of Japanese artist Tabaimo at the Museum of Contemporary Art, we have another artist exploring animation as a part of elaborate installations that primarily consist of large projections of simple animations, beguilingly cute but with a nasty edge.


Tabaimo’s Haunted House [2003] is a simulation of looking through a telescope or binoculars, a back and forth motion achieved by a projector on a turntable, that captures the animated skyline of a Japanese city. What appears to be an excerpt from a kids TV show soon turns out to contain a few graphic reminders of modern Japanese life – through a window you catch a glimpse of a hanged man – before the lens through which the viewer is seeing the image is “smashed” by a wayward bird. Other works such as Japanese Commuter Train [2001] and Dolefullhouse [2007] offer more elaborate installations but have similar mordant wit and tons of teeth gritting kawaii.

Until September 7
</f Contemporary Art, The Rocks
Pic: Tabaimo, dolefullhouse (detail) 2007. Video installation 6:21 minute loop.

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Andrew Frost

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