Interview with artist Mieko Shiomi

Shiomi Mieko, artist, composer, and Fluxus member, graciously welcomed C-MAP members into her home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Minoo, Osaka. Museum Archivist Michelle Elligott conducted an hour-long interview with the artist, accompanied by Doryun Chong (Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture), Eva Respini (Associate Curator of Photography), and Sarah Suzuki (Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books). During the conversation, Shiomi discussed her first meeting with the young Nam June Paik in Tokyo in the early 1960s; the beginning of the improvised anti-music unit Group Ongaku; and communal dinners with fellow Fluxus members Shigeko Kubota, Saito Takako, and Paik at the home of George Maciunas in New York. She also described the challenges she faced in the 1970s as she sought to remain active as an artist while taking on the roles of mother and homemaker in an Osaka suburb. While Shiomi is best known for her event pieces and objects, such as Disappearing Music for Face, Endless Box, and her Spatial Poem series, she has also been active as a composer since the 1970s. In this interview Shiomi speaks about her career as a composer and the musical language hidden in her art objects. 

In the course of the interview, Elligott draws out the complexities of Fluxus as a group identity that at times conflicted with the creative agencies of individual artists. What was Shiomi’s relationship to Fluxus? What is Fluxus? What was Fluxus in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s? Was Fluxus an artistic movement with a unified purpose, a support network for artists, or a vision of a misunderstood, autocratic Maciunas?

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