New York Art World

“It’s about question management,” says Aki Sasamoto ’04. “There are certain questions that I can forget about in daily life. When I make art, I can invite those questions.”


A dancer and sculptor who arrived at Wesleyan as a Freeman Scholar intending to major in math (“what I was good at”), Sasamoto is attracting attention in the New York City art world—which doesn’t surprise Associate Professor of Dance Pedro Alejandro nor Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff.


A performance/installation work by Sasamoto, titled Strange Attractors, was part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art this spring. Currently, she has an exhibit in MOMA’s PS 1: Greater New York 2010, which runs through October 18.


Describing Sasamoto’s work, Schiff says, “She often draws on very personal features of her life, and while the work is elusive and fragmentary, it is also very intriguing and mysteriously narrative. There are lots of surprises in the work and a sense that these odd images do add up.”


Alejandro recalls that even as a first–year student, “she had all the dancer’s tools: presence, immediacy, groundedness and a sense of daring.”


While Sasamoto considered her work at the Whitney to be relatively lighthearted, she calls her current exhibit for MOMA’s PS 1, “a really, really dark piece, a ‘B’ side to the Whitney piece.” It is located in the boiler room and she performs three days a month for the work.


She explains the contrast in styles: “If I isolate one part of me, the other parts start to shout, so this is giving the dark piece a chance to be heard. Art–making is like fishing. . .I just throw the net in and see what come up. Whatever is in life, gets in.”


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