Aki Sasamoto

Visual Artist, Professor
Born 1980, Kanagawa, Japan
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Photo by Paul O'Reilly.


Aki Sasamoto works in sculpture, installation, performance, dance, and whatever other media are necessary to get her ideas across. Her installations function as careful arrangements of sculpturally altered found objects, with the decisive gestures of her improvisational performances responding to the sounds, objects, and moving bodies that are present.

Sasamoto's works include Delicate Cycle (2016), an installation exploring the hoarding activities of scarab beetles; Food Rental (2015), in which Sasamoto staffed a food cart in a public park offering a menu of micro-performances; and Skewed Lies (2010), a performance of idiosyncratic narratives evolving throughout time and space.

Sasamoto has exhibited her large-scale performative installation works at the Yokohama Triennial (2008); the Whitney Biennial, New York (2010); PS1's Greater New York, Long Island City (2010); the Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea (2012); and the Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2016). Her works are also featured in the field of experimental dance theater, and have been presented by Chocolate Factory Theater, The Kitchen, and Movement Research. Solo exhibitions of her work include Strange Attractions at Take Ninagawa, Tokyo, Japan (2009); Secrets of My Mother's Child at Jerome Zodo Contemporary, London, United Kingdom (2011); No Choice at Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); and Delicate Cycle at SculptureCenter, Long Island City (2015).

Sasamoto was awarded a Visual Art Grant Award from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (2007), the Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award from the New York Community Trust (2012), and was named a Cultural Envoy by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (2016). Sasamoto received her M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2007, and has been invited to give lectures and workshops at numerous colleges in departments of Dance, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Visual Arts, and Writing. She is an assistant professor of Sculpture at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Artist Statement

When I meet key concepts, physical materials, or movements, I freeze-dry them in a state of pause; within reach, without touching. My process resembles fishing; I cast a net, and wait for a perfect alignment of events. I hold multiple things floating around and somehow seize the connections by putting them in line with other seemingly foreign references. When it works, each element grows its relevance and poetic metaphor to start 'meaning.' I would then listen carefully to what it tries to 'mean' and work with these meanings until I understand that something may have had a meaning to begin with.

In process or in performance, I use structural improvisation. Objects in my installation act as scores, expanding and limiting the boundary of the world of improvisation. The body simply responds with decisive gestures, unfolding the possible stories. These stories seem personal at first, yet oddly open to variant degrees of access, relation, and reflection.

December 2016