March 27, 2015 - Deutsche Bank KunstHalle - Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” 2015: Koki Tanaka
March 27, 2015

Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” 2015: Koki Tanaka

Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #1, “1946–52 Occupation Era and 1970 Between Man and Matter,” December 6–7, 2014. Action, workshop, video documentation. Courtesy of the artist. Christo, Wrapped Floor, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 1970. © Christo, 1970.

Koki Tanaka
A Vulnerable Narrator
Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” 2015

March 26–May 25, 2015

Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
Unter den Linden 13/15
10117 Berlin

With A Vulnerable Narrator, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle presents Koki Tanaka’s first major solo show in Europe. The Japanese artist, recently named Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” 2015, references the history of “art activism” and views his work as a gentle, yet sustainable approach to this movement. His exhibition at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin is a laboratory of sorts, one that ties together a decade’s worth of projects, ideas, and documents. It traces Tanaka’s path from early experiments with mass-produced goods and materials, to his performances and collaborative actions. 

Tanaka calls these collective activities, which he began in 2012, “Precarious Tasks.” In them, participants are given rather poetic instructions on how they, as a group, are to carry out a simple task. With these acts, Tanaka further investigates the possibilities and impossibilities of communal cooperation. However, in 2011 when the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe shook the world, these everyday activities took on a political dimension. The artist, who was born in Tochigi, Japan in 1975, often refers to the social situation in his homeland with his actions, yet at the same time reacts to situations at the locations where his actions are staged. His tasks always have a universal meaning. Tanaka questions how we act in emergency situations; when the situation is “precarious”; when technical and social systems break down and we have to solve problems with others. Therein lies the potential for utopias—not only to dream of alternative, more social forms of community, but to actually experience them.

Artist of the Year
After Wangechi Mutu (2010), Yto Barrada (2011), Roman Ondák (2012), Imran Qureshi (2013), and Victor Man (2014), Koki Tanaka is now Deutsche Bank’s sixth “Artist of the Year.” The award goes to contemporary artists who have created a substantial body of work, in which works on paper and/or photography play a role. The award focuses on artistic positions that deal with social themes in an individual way and take new formal paths. It is not a purely financial award, but firmly embedded in Deutsche Bank’s art program. It supports new positions and promotes the acquisition of works for the corporate collection. The highlight of the program is a solo show in the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, accompanied by an extensive catalogue and an exclusive edition. Artists are chosen within the framework of the Global Art Advisory Committee, which is comprised of renown curators such as Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann and Victoria Noorthoorn.

Special Events

“Who wants yesterday’s paper? Koki Tanaka and Japanese postwar art,” lecture by Mika Kuraya
April 29, 7pm
Koki Tanaka is chiefly known for his video works on the theme of collaboration. But his artistic practice also includes interaction with art works from the past. The lecture examines Tanaka’s complex relations to Japanese postwar art.

Mika Kuraya, Chief Curator of the collections, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo was Curator of the Japanese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.

“Art of the Collective,” lecture by Dr. Kai van Eikels
May 11, 7pm
In his work, Koki Tanaka investigates the complexity of “simple cooperation,” which economic theory has always neglected in favor of work-sharing “complex cooperation.” How is work on one task organized? According to which technical, ethical, and social principles do hands in action become one hand? And where does a collective dimension open up that makes work become a political act? Kai van Eikels will explore these issues in a lecture titled “Art of the Collective.” 

Kai van Eikels is a philosopher and drama expert who teaches at the Freie Universität Berlin. In his research, van Eikels deals with performance, collectivity, the politics of participation, art, and work. 

More information at and

ArtMag provides information about current trends in contemporary art, exhibitions, and artists connected to the Deutsche Bank Collection. Discover Deutsche Bank’s worldwide art activities with ArtMag: Online since 2002 and also available in print.

Register here for your ArtMag newsletter and stay updated.

Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2015: Koki Tanaka
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
Share - Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” 2015: Koki Tanaka
  • Share