In 1956 Atsuko Tanaka, a Japanese avant-garde artist who helped pioneer the Gutai movement, came forward with her best-known work, the Electric Dress. Composed entirely of light bulbs of all shapes, sizes and colours, and a plethora of connected electrical cords, the Electric Dress resembles a post-modern Christmas tree when not worn (as was often the case). Tanaka, by updating the kimono, sought to highlight the leap from traditional Japanese society to one representing the bright lights of the modern world. The aim of the Gutai group was to break with the past and blur the boundaries between art and life in post-war Japan, seeking a new beginning in order to put the horrors behind. Tanaka, in her twinkling dress was surely symbolic of this fresh and shiny start.
Artist: Atsuko Tanaka