August 20, 2014 - Art in General - Total Body Conditioning, a new commission by Mika Tajima
August 20, 2014

Total Body Conditioning, a new commission by Mika Tajima

Mika Tajima, Total Body Conditioning, 2014. Digital rendering. Courtesy the artist and Eleven Rivington.

Mika Tajima: Total Body Conditioning
September 13–October 25, 2014

Opening: September 13, 6–8pm

Art in General
79 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013

Total Body Conditioning is an exhibition by Mika Tajima comprised of three scenes—display, work, and fitness—that invoke technologies developed to control and affect the body. These are techniques that shape bodily experience of time and space, taking the human body as a target of power. The works in the exhibition include Jacuzzi hot tub painting objects, a series of abstract woven textile portraits, and transparent paintings set to changing ambient lighting and sound sequences. Each scene in the exhibition traces the management of the body in different spaces and temporal contexts from factory assembly line to therapeutic “after work” locations.

The exhibition takes its name from a physical conditioning program developed to adapt the body to an exercise regimen emphasizing endurance, flexibility, and performance through the seriation of time and the partitioning of bodily space. “Total Body Conditioning” refers to the complete investment of the body, taking the Greek practice “to care for oneself” into the Foucauldian register of discipline and control exacted on the self—where individual practices of freedom are intertwined with modes of domination.

Created specifically for the exhibition, thermoformed Jacuzzi painting objects that are reverse-spray enameled in saturated gradient colors ground the gallery space. These new hot tub objects are ergonomically molded to the human form, underlining how the body is articulated in relation to an object. The Jacuzzi company began as an aviation company, which later developed hydraulic pumps for medical therapy before evolving into a social recreation with its multi-seat tubs. Here the Jacuzzi tub form acts as a container for the body and paint, fusing figuration with abstraction.

Tajima will also present a new group of works from the “Furniture Art” series consisting of spray enameled transparent paintings each subtitled by a geographic location—Shikoku, Ojo Caliente, Kerala—drawing on the psychogeographic associations produced by the affective names of industrial colors and paints.
The exhibition will feature a new series of “Negative Entropy” acoustic woven textile portraits derived from recordings of Toyota power Jacquard looms, an assembly line at a Toyota car factory in Japan, and a server colocation center. These recordings were transmuted into image files and physically interpreted by a weaving designer into a Jacquard fabric.

Total Body Conditioning features a sound collaboration between New Humans and Alvin Aronson (White Material).

Born 1975, Los Angeles. Lives and works in New York.

Mika Tajima employs sculpture, painting, video, music, and performance, often drawing on contradictions in modernist design and architecture to consider how the performing subject (e. g., speaker, dancer, designer, factory worker, musician, filmmaker) is constructed in spaces in which material objects outline action and engagement. Tajima’s most recent work extends her interrogation of “the built environment and the maximized performer to the global flow of life energies sought by unraveling systems.” Tajima also works collaboratively under the moniker New Humans, including projects with Vito Acconci, Charles Atlas, Judith Butler, and C. Spencer Yeh, among others.

Tajima’s work has been shown internationally, at venues including the South London Gallery, London; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; SculptureCenter and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York City; Bass Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Tajima lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA from Columbia University.

Special thanks to Lucite Lux and Dynasty Spas

For media press release and more information, please visit

General Support of Art in General is provided by General Hardware Manufacturing Inc.; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Agnes Gund; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, and Cher Lewis, and Commissioners’ Circle members Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Richard Massey, Leslie Ruff, Joyce Siegel, and Jeremy E. Steinke.

Additional special event support provided by ROOT(Drive-In) Studios and Hotel Hugo SoHo


Art in General presents Total Body Conditioning, a new commission by Mika Tajima
Art in General
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