Gaku Tsutaja: Spider’s Thread

When 24 Jun 2020 - 9 Aug 2020
Where Ulterior Gallery
172 Attorney St
New York, NY 10002
United States
The world has been in a very different reality these past three months. We at Ulterior Gallery mourn those who have lost their lives or their loved ones during the pandemic, and all the precious individuals who have lost their lives due to systemic racism.To reopen the gallery, Gaku Tsutaja and Ulterior will present two new large-scale paintings by Tsutaja at the gallery and, online, forty-seven Daily Drawings—one drawing a day posted on Instagram during the duration of the show. All the works were produced during the time of quarantine. The exhibition will be on view from June 24 through August 9, 2020, and the daily Instagram presentation will begin June 24, 2020 Japan time (June 23 in the US). To visit the gallery, please contact to make an appointment. Walk-in visits are also welcome. As a safety precaution, the gallery will restrict admission to three visitors at a time.Gaku Tsutaja has been researching the history surrounding the Manhattan Project and the nuclear impacts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to create narrative-based works in multiple media, including painting, drawing, installation, and performance video. August 6th and 9th of this year will mark the 75th anniversary of the lives lost to the two atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man. To mark this occasion, Tsutaja wished to exhibit two paintings that she has created based on recent research on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and sites linked to the development and deployment of the atomic bombs such as Hanford Site and Spokane in Washington, Los Alamos and Alamogordo in New Mexico, and Wendover in Utah. While Tsutaja was working on the paintings in quarantine at her live/work studio, the world was counting the lives lost in the pandemic. While thinking about the past, Tsutaja was also thinking about the present. It is a different kind of war, but the sheer scale of loss might serve to connect these paintings to the current issues we are facing.

Spider’s Thread: This Landscape, one of the two paintings in the diptych that Tsutaja has created for this exhibition, represents the view in Japan, while the other, Spider’s Thread: That Story, represents the narrative in the U.S. Tsutaja interweaves the uncountable, complex personal stories of the many different individuals living through 1945 that she has discovered in the course of her research, and reveals their connections as if placing red dots—or pinning target positions—on an enormous map that spans the WWII era to the present.

About the Artist:

Gaku Tsutaja was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1974, and currently works in Queens, NY. In 1999, Tsutaja obtained a BFA with honors from Tokyo Zokei University of Arts and Design, and moved to Fukuoka to participated in the Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyusyu (CCA) as a research fellow. Tsutaja moved to New York in 2005 and graduated from SUNY Purchase College, Purchase, NY, in 2018. Tsutaja’s work has been exhibited at Shirley Fiterman Art Center at BMCC in New York, NY (2019, solo); Gallery of Visual Arts, University of Montana, Missoula, MT (2019); Equity Gallery in New York, NY (2018); Nitehiworks, Kanazawa, Japan (2012); Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, The Hague, The Netherlands (2007); Center for Contemporary Graphic Art, Fukushima, Japan (2004); and Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark (2002). The exhibition Spider’s Thread is Tsutaja’s second solo exhibition with Ulterior Gallery. Following this exhibition, Tsutaja will work to debut a large-scale theater installation, with an accompanying video, in January 2021 at Rubin Center for Visual Arts in El Paso, TX.

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