Aiko Tezuka



1976 Born in Tokyo, JP
Lives and works in Berlin, DE


2012–2013 Participated in the International Studio Program in Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
2006–2009 Worked as an instructor in Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto; Kyoto University of Art and Design, Kyoto; Kibi International University, Okayama, Japan
2005 Completed Ph.D in Painting at the Art Research Department of Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan
2001 Completed Master‘s Degree in Painting at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan
1999 Graduated in Painting from Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan



Dear Oblivion – 親愛なる忘却へ, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, DE, 14 September — 16 November 2019
Flowery Obscurity – 華の闇, MA2 gallery, Tokyo (JP),  7 — 28 September 2019
Dear Oblivion – 親愛なる忘却へ, Spiral, Tokyo (JP), 4 — 18 September 2019


Fragments of Thoughts, Mikiko Sato Gallery
, Hamburg, DE


Stardust Letters, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo, JP
Lessons for Restoration, MAGO, Eidsvoll, Akershus, NO
Unraveling, Restoring, Ayala Museum, Manila, PH


Thin Membrane, Pictures Come Down, Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund, DE
Certainty / Entropy, Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg, DE
Certainty / Entropy, Third Floor Hermès Singapore, Singapore, SP
Art Basel Hong Kong, Galerie Michael Janssen, Hong Kong, CN


Rewoven, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, DE
Ghost - Suspended Organs, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE
Ghost - Suspended Organs, Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg, DE


Prism Lag, Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum, Kyoto, JP
Transparent Fruits, Kenji Taki Gallery, Nagoya and Tokyo, JP


Fragile Surface – Cat‘s Cradle, Kenji Taki Gallery, Tokyo, JP


Aiko Tezuka, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company South Gallery, Tokyo, JP


Sewing up, in between Ghosts, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, JP
Thin Film, Underground Forest, SPIRAL/Wacoal Art Centre, Tokyo, JP
Aiko Tezuka, Kenji Taki Gallery, Nagoya, JP


Aiko Tezuka, INAX Gallery 2, Tokyo, JP
Aiko Tezuka CASO, Osaka, JP


Aiko Tezuka, ARTCOURT Gallery, Osaka, JP


Aiko Tezuka, Gallery Rasen, Tokyo, JP



This is our collection + Yinka Shonibare CBE: Flower Power, Grand Reopening Exhibition, Fukuoka Art Museum Fukuoka, JP
MOT Collection: Pleased to meet you, New Acquisitions in recent years, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JP
Weavers of Worlds – A Century of Flux in Japanese Modern / Contemporary Art, Grand Reopening Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, JP


Group show (featuring three artists), MA2 Gallery, Tokyo, JP
Cultural Threads, TextielMuseum, Tilburg, NL
RAUM XVII, Werkhalle Wiesenburg, Berlin, DE
Notes from a trembling community in a wilful state of fluxHotel Maria Kapel (HMK), Hoorn, NL
Watch Your Bubble!, Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, DE
Mobile Worlds or the Transcultural Museum of Our Present, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, DE
A Painting for the Emperor (Ein Bild für den Kaiser), Johann Jacobs Museum, Zurich, CH
I HEAR YOU (Jeg Hører Deg), Kunstmuseet Nord-Trøndelag, Namsos, NO


ripple effect - through the surface, MA2 Gallery, Tokyo, JP
New Acquisitions 2013~16 Samramansang from KIM Whanki to YANG Fudong, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, KR
CAMK Collection vol.5 / You know? It‘s said that Kumamoto-local-treasures have unveiled!, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, JP
Entangled: Threads & Making. Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK


Nightfall (Le Retour De Tenebres), Musee Rath, Geneva, CH
Spider‘s threads - Spinning Images of Japanese beauty, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, JP
Bleibt man an einem Ort, oder nicht (2-persons show with Shingo Yoshida), Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg, DE
Schnittmengen. Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin, DE
Die Gezeiten. Transmitter - Raum für Kultur und Sprache, Berlin, DE
Disegno - Japanische Zeichenkunst der Gegenwart. Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg, DE
Höhenrausch, EIGEN+ART Lab, Berlin, DE


Artist File 2015 Next Doors, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon, KR
Artist File 2015 Next Doors: Contemporary Art in Japan and Korea, The National Art Center, Tokyo, JP
TOMROM, Larvik kunstforening, Larvik, Vestfold, NO
Ob das Blatt sich an die Wurzel erinnert?, Galerie Dina Renninger, Munich, DE
TOMROM, Sandefjord kunstforening, Sandefjord, Vestfold, NO


Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama, JP
Metaplay, Galerie Kritiku Palác Adria, Praha, CZ
Japanische Gegenwartkunst und Textil, Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg, DE
Installation View / Installationsansicht, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, DE
In Search of Critical Imagination, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, JP


To Open Eyes, Art and Textiles from the Bauhaus to Today, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, DE
Disruptive Patterns. Plots, Plans and Movements. (Prelude), Altes Finanzamt, Berlin, DE
The Empire of Folds. Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich, CH
Embracing the land: reframing textiles, Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art KINARE, Niigata, JP
STOFF Summlung Textile Skulpturen. Kreissparkasse Rottweil, Rottweil, DE
BLUMEN, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Berlin, DE
How to become who you are, BWA, Tarnów, PL
Home Stories, Villa 102, Bockenheimer Landstrasse 102 (former Literaturhaus), Frankfurt am Main, DE
MOT Collection, Our Ninety Years: 1923-2013 Afterimages of tomorrow, Museum of Con temporary Art Tokyo, JP


Letters from the Field, curated by NODE,Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, DE
The New Contemporaries, KCUA gallery, Kyoto Art University of Arts, Kyoto, JP


SHOW in the project space, Royal College of Art, Sculpture, London, UK
The 20th Anniversary of the Gotoh Memorial Foundation, Bunkamura The Museum, Tokyo, JP
Celebratory Textiles – from Edo to the present day, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Kumamoto, JP


City_net Asia, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, KR
Stitch by Stitch, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Tokyo, JP
New power! New collections in 2008, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, JP


MOT annual 2008, Unraveling and Revealing, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, JP
New collections show, Okazaki Mindscape Museum, Aichi, JP
Secrets and Trick, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, JP
Tangent, Artist in residence, Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori, JP
Sidetrack, Tokorozawa Biennial, Tokyo, JP


Painting as Forest: Artist as Thinker, Okazaki Mindscape Museum, Aichi, JP
Sawako Tanizawa, Aiko Tezuka, Gunji Fukasawa, Kentaro Yokouchi, CASO, Osaka,  JP
Paradise of Illusion, MA2 Gallery, Tokyo, JP
Cycle and Recycle, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi, JP


Echigo - Tsumari Art Triennial 2006, Tokamachi, Niigata, JP
√roots, Honenin temple, Kyoto, JP


VOCA 2005 The Vision of Contemporary Art (3rd prize winner), Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, JP
art in transit, The Palace Side Hotel (Room 439), Kyoto, JP
WILD GIRLS LULLABY, art zone, Kyoto, JP
Spiral Take Art Collection, Spiral/Wacoal Art Centre, Tokyo, JP


Selected Artists in Kyoto-2004 New Wave, The Museum of Kyoto, Kyoto, JP
Spiral Take Art Collection, Spiral/Wacoal Art Centre, Tokyo, JP


Art Court Frontier, ARTCOURT Gallery, Osaka, JP


Kyo-Ten, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (1st prize), JP


"De-construction and re-construction could always lie in the center of my works. I have been considering what to de-construct and re-construct."

Since the very beginning of her artistic career, Aiko Tezuka has been interested in the surface of objects. For a painting student, to think about how to make a good composition or a beautiful surface is an expected task, but it was not hers. Her essential interest has been what makes up the surface of the object; through which processes was the surface produced; how could she peel off the surface; what things could she see behind the surface; And how could she embody these things behind the surface into her work.

"Although we are completely surrounded by surfaces, we cannot physically enter things in even one millimeter under the surface. Every time we peel a surface, a new surface will appear immediately, like an infinite loop. That means, behind the surface is unreachable and always invisible. Then my next question appears, how to perceive these infinite surfaces, or how to loosen the surfaces that seem to be firmly interwoven?"

Press text 'Rewoven' (2013)

Galerie Michael Janssen is proud to present its first solo show with Japanese artist Aiko Tezuka entitled Rewoven. In January 2013 her works were shown in the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin in a solo exhibition.

Tezuka studied classical painting and her artistic expression derives from the tradition of painting. Her works resemble physically collapsed paintings in which the picture plane is re-interpreted as three-dimensional entities. Her practice is based on fabrics and for her works she uses among others Gobelin tapestries, Indian fabrics and old tablecloths.

Ancient fabrics such as Coptic Egyptian textiles, Renaissance tapestry and 8th century Japanese embroidered silk fascinate Tezuka. Particularly the fact that it is apparently impossible to remake some ancient Japanese fabrics today, even if one were to use the latest technologies available.

Nowadays fabrics are usually directed towards an end product such as clothes and furnishings; however, Tezuka has a different view of fabrics. She dissects them according to their own principle – the thread. Pervading her creative processes are techniques and rules that she has developed over time: untying and unwinding fabric. In a painstaking process she extracts certain colored threads from the fabrics by hand so that their motifs fade out into blurred images. Through this deconstruction process she reveals invisible narratives; unravels and recomposes structures hidden within the material. In some of her works she reconnects the threads again by re-using them for her own stitchings; re-engaging the material and making new work out of them.

Tezuka was influenced by the Japanese Post Mono-ha movement: an important group of Japanese sculptors in the 1980’s that took the elemental materials, Zen-like aesthetic and primal forces such as fire, as used by the Mono-ha movement, but added artistic process. Carving, burning, construction and coloring the work added an additional layer and reinserted the hand of the artist back into sculpture. The work of Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois and Korean artist Kimsooja, are also important references for her work.

In her work she engages with the meaning of fabric, its cultural heritage, its designs, the origin of motifs and the globalised market of industrial productions.

The title of the exhibition was taken from one of her earlier works that received a prize in the painting competition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo. This key work from 2005 focuses on the underlying structure that establishes a painting’s surface: the canvas. She unraveled parts of two different patterned fabrics stretched on stretcher bars and wove strands of each together to create a new pattern. In it, Tezuka reduces painting to its structural elements, pushing these to the level of artistic expression and created a work that raises questions about painting’s reason for being.

In Suspended Organs (reactor) - the centerpiece of the exhibition - Tezuka drew warps of threads of a specific color from meter-long lengths of cloth until they formed a heap on the floor; she then used those single threads on an embroidery frame stretched with transparent fabric. The embroidery shows abstracted organs and circulatory systems of the human body, malformed or deformed by illness. Here, Tezuka’s prime interest lies with the process of de- and reconstruction, and the breaking up of customary narrative structures in order to find a new way of contemplating the subjective essence of time and the processes of transformation that start out from it.

Press text 'Dear Oblivion - 親愛なる忘却へ' (2019)

Galerie Michael Janssen is pleased to present Aiko Tezuka’s new exhibition “Dear Oblivion – 親愛なる忘却へ” curated by Sachiko Shoji of the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan. Organized on the occasion of Berlin Art Week 2019, “Dear Oblivion” is the artist’s second solo exhibition in the gallery’s space, and it features works created in collaboration with the Textile Lab at Textile Museum in Tilburg (the Netherlands), the Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI), Kawashima Selkon Textiles and Kyoritsu Women‘s University Museum.

Tezuka’s creative practice, though grounded in painting, has long found expression in intricate fabric installations and objects that explore themes related to the culture, industry, and history of the global textile enterprise. Processes of weaving and unweaving function to characterize both the artist‘s trademark aesthetic and her particular thematic preoccupations; as she articulates in her artist’s statement, she is “interested in loosening up such readymade nar­ratives to unravel forgotten histories or discover new plotlines,” and in so doing “facilitate the reexamination of the subjective nature of time and the process of metamorphosis.” In “Dear Oblivion,” Tezuka further explores these ideas with a critical emphasis on the deconstruction, reexamination, and reconstruction of the relationships between past and present, Japan and Western Europe, and art and craft.

One of her newest works, Flowery Obscurity (The Night Watch) (2019), translates Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch (1642) into weaving and modifies the image with swaths of ornamental Chintz, a patterned fabric of Indian ori­gin made popular in both Japan and Western Europe via its distribution by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. In Tezuka’s version of The Night Watch, the Chintz replaces Rembrandt’s famed light rays to disrupt both the picture plane and the stability of the painting’s rarely contested “Europeanness.” Thus, the storied past of the master­piece is intertwined with the history of maritime trade between the Dutch and countries in East Asia; namely, Japan, which closed its borders from the mid-seventeenth century until the mid-nineteenth century to all but China and Hol­land. The “obscurity” in the title refers to the dimming of the painting caused by discoloration over time, and it refers to the cultures of East Asia—represented by the Chintz—which were often misunderstood by European society during Rembrandt’s age and the 220 years that Japan remained in isolation.

The evolution of this misunderstanding and its impact, known as orientalism, is an overarching exhibition theme. For example, A Study of Necessity (Satsuma-Buttons and Self-Orientalism) -03 and Rewoven in Kyoto, After 100 years -03 (both 2019) use the weft and the warp to illustrate how the East-West exchange of luxury goods influenced the two hemispheres’ perceptions of and interest in each other, which led to a commercially driven synthesis of styles, often at the expense of cultural identities in the East. And the namesake Dear Oblivion (A Study of Empress Haruko) (2019) is an homage to the Empress of Meiji Japan, who navigated old-world/new-world international politics through couture and poetry.

The acknowledgement of labor as inherent to the making and distribution of textiles, whether in the past or in the pre­sent, is crucial to understanding Tezuka’s practice. Not only is she an intense laborer herself, but her works speak of labor as a human condition and a frequent human rights concern. Do you remember me—I was about to forget (2018), her machine-embroidered portraits of Meiji-era Japanese immigrants forced into underpaid labor on Hawaiian sugar plantations, is the most specific and haunting example of her engagement with this issue.

Concurrent to “Dear Oblivion – 親愛なる忘却へ” at Galerie Michael Janssen, Tezuka is presenting a near parallel exhi­bition titled “Dear Oblivion,” at Spiral, an arts and culture center in Tokyo. Although the project is the same, its Tokyo iteration further elaborates Tezuka’s conceptual investigations of East and West, as geographic circumstances and cultural context inevitably change the public’s understanding of the work.

One can find more information on these artworks in “Becoming a Thread and a Needle: Aiko Tezuka‘s Thought and Method,” by Sachiko Shoji and “Art and History Intertwined: On Aiko Tezuka’s Project Rembrandt x Chintz,” by Rijksmuseum curator Chin-Ling Wang. Both texts were written on the occasion of this exhibition and are available for reading in the gallery.

Text by Patrick J. Reed