How far can an artist bend without breaking? Installation and performance artist Aki Sasamoto unwinds the logic of her latest work,
(2017), finding unexpected connections between the tension of stretched materials and the stresses we experience in everyday life. “Lately, I notice that I’m [feeling] super stretched and tired—trying to do a day job and trying to do art—so I was interested in how much one can push yourself,” says the artist. “That’s why I went to thinking about elasticity and testing that limit.”
Mirroring the artist’s own stream of conscious logic and deadpan humor, the newest Art21 video, released today, follows Sasamoto as she uses a mechanical stress-testing machine at Rutgers University, tours a dumpster warehouse in Queens, and performs in Chelsea’s renowned arts space, The Kitchen . During the performance, Sasamoto moves freely within an installation comprised of plastic trash bags, immersive videos, stretched bands, and rolling dumpsters with trampolines inside.
Like the materials she pulls apart, Sasamoto resists bending to expectations and refuses an easy explanation of her subjects—instead trusting the creative process to yield its own truths. “Whenever I try to say this piece is about this or that, that’s when it starts to feel like I’m a liar,” she says. “I almost feel like I’m performing to find out answers for my own questions.”
Watch the full video below and stay tuned for more from Art21's New York Close Up series.