Takako Saito

1929 | Sabae, Japan
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Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Bernd Thissen/dpa/Alamy Live News

Japanese visual artist.

The daughter of a landowner and youngest of a family of three children, Saito Takako had a peaceful childhood in a bourgeois milieu, despite the war and its violent destruction. After studying psychology at Nihon Joshi Daigaku (Japan Women’s University), she became a professor. In hopes of promoting the freedom of creation, she took part in the Sōzō Biiku undo movement for artistic creative education founded by Teijirŏ Kubo in 1953. During one of the numerous workshops organised by this group, Saito Takako met the artist Ay-O. Through their friendship, she became acquainted with the avant-garde movements in Tokyo, and later New York were Ay-O lived from 1958. Inspired by her friend’s stories, Saito went to New York in 1963. Ay-O presented her to George Maciunas, who introduced her to the Fluxus group, with whom she shared the same free spirit and the use of past experience as a means of expression. It wasn’t until 1964 that the collective started publishing magazines such as CC V TRE, and the plastic boxes containing cards and other diverse materials. Fascinated by Japanese wooden boxes built without nails, G. Maciunas asked Saito Takako to create some of her own. She surely influenced certain aesthetic choices of the group through her culture, notably in the production of the Boxes, of which the most celebrated are the variations of the chess box: Nut & Bolt Chess (1964); Grinder Chess (1965); Fluxus Chess (1965).

Beginning in 1965, Saito Takako began to incorporate the five senses and music in her creations. Exploring the idea of play, interactions, and music, she realised her first performances at the beginning of the 1970s, including Kicking Box Billiard (1971), for which she invited the public to play with paper cubes. She travelled extensively between 1968 and 1978 before settling in Düsseldorf. She continued to make her unique publications with several editors and eventually founded her own publishing house, Noodle Editions, in 1979. In 1990 she realised You and Me Market or Do It Yourself Shop, a portable shop exhibiting materials of very different natures, that become artistic objects at the choice of the viewer.

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Annalisa Rimmaudo

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, A Part of 5 ounces from The Brecht Archives, 1998, 19 pieces, variable dimensions, Centre national des arts plastiques, © Photo: François Lauginie et B. Delanoë, © Takako Saito and Cnap, © ADAGP, Paris

Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, Clothing Piece, 2012, private collection, Courtesy Takako Saito, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, © ADAGP, Paris

Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, Flux Chess, 1960s, mixed media, 14.5 x 14.5 x 6 cm, Harvard Art Museums, Fogg Museum, Courtesy Takako Saito, © ADAGP, Paris

Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, Sound Chess, 1977, thirty-two plastic boxes containing various objects, and typewritten sheet with pencil additions, MoMA, Courtesy Takako Saito, © ADAGP, Paris

Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, Sounddress with wig, 2017, performance, MGK Siegen, Courtesy Takako Saito, © Bernd Thissen/dpa/Alamy Live News, © ADAGP, Paris

Takako Saito — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Takako Saito, XxXxX Freedom, 1992-1994, painted wood, metal, magnets, variable dimension, exhibition view, MGK Siegen, © Photo: Carsten Schmale, © Takako Saito and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, © ADAGP, Paris

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