Into Performance: Japanese Women Artists in New York

By Midori Yoshimoto | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Self-Exploration
in Multimedia:
The Experiments
of Shigeko Kubota

Looking through my Video Relief lenses—mirror, dou-
ble images like my past and my present. “Are you sure
this is you Shigeko? Or is this who you used to be?”

—Shigeko Kubota,
Video Sculpture

Since 1970, Shigeko Kubota has been best known as a pioneer in video art and as one of the first women to work in this relatively new artistic medium. While she continues to create and be known for her video projects, her career as a visual artist started earlier in Japan, in the 1960s.

Kubota was a multimedia artist active in the Tokyo avant-garde art scene before she moved to New York City in 1964. Upon her arrival in New York, Kubota joined in Fluxus activities and started experimenting with a wider range of media, from text scores to performance. While she continued a friendship with George Maciunas until his death in 1978, the objects and performance that she created within the Fluxus circle were concentrated around 1965. It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Kubota moved on to explore new artistic directions and video, which became the primary artistic medium for the rest of her career. While much of the scholarship on Kubota has focused on her later video works, this chapter will investigate Kubota’s early period in Japan and New York, during which she formed her

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