Jikken Kōbō

  • Born 1951 in Tokyo, Japan

Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop), founded in Tokyo in 1951, was a multimedia arts collective whose members included composers, visual artists, set and lighting designers, engineers, and musicians. By combining various art forms, their goal, in the words of their founder Shūzō Takiguchi (1903–1979), was to achieve “an organic combination that could not be realized within the conventions of a gallery exhibition, and to create a new style of art with social relevance, closely related to everyday life." Partly inspired by the Bauhaus and the Surrealists – and contemporary to the creative experiments at Black Mountain College in North Carolina – Jikken Kōbō created performances as complex, multi-layered installations, with the artists participating in the creation of the entire mise-en-scène. Jikken Kōbō also pioneered experiments with new media, entering into creative partnerships with Sony, for example, and creating collaborative works that combined technologies, such as cassette recorders and slide projectors, with traditional Japanese forms. Although they predate other groups, such as Gutai, the work of Jikken Kōbō is only recently being celebrated outside of Japan, thanks to their inclusion in important exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012), and Tate Modern, London (2013).

Artworks by Jikken Kōbō in the exhibition