Under Construction

Under Construction
Asako Tokitsu
Bildschirmfoto 2020-02-13 um 16.15.18



Picture 1

Work in Progress

Artist Talk



Kunstraum Claudia Delank | Bleibtreustr. 15–16, 10623 Berlin
Nach Vereinbarung

21. März 2020 | 18 Uhr
Kunstraum Claudia Delank | Bleibtreustr. 15–16, 10623 Berlin
Wegen der Ausbreitung des Coronavirus findet die Eröffnung der Ausstellung am 21. März 2020 nicht statt.
As a cautionary measure due to the spreading of the coronavirus the opening on 21 March 2020 does not take place.

Artist Talk mit Asako Tokitsu und Dr. Alexander Hofmann (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin)
14. Mai 2020 | 18 Uhr
Kunstraum Claudia Delank | Bleibtreustr. 15–16, 10623 Berlin


Due of the Corona crisis, we are pleased to announce that the exhibition Under Construction, Asako Tokitsu – Installation has been extended until 5th June 2020.

Asako Tokitsu was born in Tôkyô and has been living and working in Berlin since 2004.
Her artistic practice focuses on site-specific installations.
From 1989 to 1991, she studied Art and Art Theory at Tama Art University in Tôkyô and held various artist-in-residencies in Paris in the 1990ies. She exhibited internationally in renowned galleries, for instance in 2015 at the Foundation Hermes in Tôkyô. Her works are in public and private collections, mainly in Japan and Europe, among them the Daimler Collection Holding Tôkyô.

In 2009, Asako Tokitsu realized an installation-project in a Japanese teahouse on the site of Tôkyô National Museum, the famous Ôkyokan, a traditional building in the shoin sukuri style with fusuma paintings by the famous Edo-time painter Maruyama Ôkyo (1733–1795) who lived and worked in Japan in the 18th century. In my Art Space she also worked directly on the wall and the windows, using oil crayon and charcoal. If one hadn’t any information whatsoever and saw Asako Tokitsu’s work in my Art Space for the first time, one would not immediately identify it as a work by a Japanese artist. The artist sees her work at first in an international minimalist context and only more recently as a specifically Japanese work (on this aspect see the artist talk with Alexander Hofmann and Claudia Delank).

Asako Tokitsu’s site-specific artistic practice is based on the line. The dynamic line and space are the two constituting elements of her work. Thus she uses space as a canvas for her line installations. The Japanese line with a varying ductus was a revelation for Western artist at the end of the 19th century. Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) spoke of the “discovery of the forces of the line and the dynamic expression”. This tension between the modulating brushstrokes and the empty space was new to Western painters. Lines on their own are characterized by minimal form on one hand and utmost expression on the other. The surrounding empty space is as important as the painted one in the modulating line and the empty space. The beauty of the space left empty is called yohaku in Japanese (lit. “the beauty of the blank”). Another well-known example of Japanese art where the empty space plays an important role is the dry landscape garden (karesansui garden) with its composition of stones and empty space. The karesansui garden, is—based on an elementary structural form or formula—a composite of intervals set in rhythm with space that is, a composition of spaces (Japanese ma). As a Zen garden of monochrome Zen Painting, suiboku-ga or sumie, closely related, both are considered “to lift”, to be an aid of meditation. In Zen painting, like the stones or stone groups in raked sand or gravel, the brush strokes emerge as markings from the emptiness of the white surface (kûhaku), the “unmarked state”. In this sense, the karesansui garden and ink painting are structurally identical.

Both the dynamic line and the empty space inbetween are at the very center of Asako Tokitsu’s work. These elements also played a strong role in the Western reception of Japanese art in the late 19th and early 20th century, the so-called “Japonisme”. As for Asako Tokitsu, the line within the architectural space is the vital element in her art executed not in the traditional media of ink on paper in a calligraphic mode with modulating ductus, but directly on the wall with charcoal and oil crayon. The artist combines a Western technique with specific elements of Japanese art. Thus her work can be seen, to some extent, as a form of Reversed Japonisme.

Claudia Delank