Labyrinth of Thread Text by Nakai Yasuyuki

Nakai Yasuyuki - Curator of The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, September 2003

“Ariadne’s Thread” is a well-known story involving thread. In this parable from Greek mythology, Ariadne hands Theseus, with whom she has fallen in love, a thread to take with him on a trip to Crete to kill the Minotaur. With it, Theseus is able to find his way back through the labyrinth and return home.

When I saw this series of works by Tezuka Aiko, I was immediately reminded of the myth. This could have simply been because of the use of “thread.” But later I also began to feel as if there was some sort of invisible thread connecting me to Tezuka’s art and couldn’t seem to get it out of my head. Then I started to think of her work as something to trace back the thread of memory.

The thread that appears in Tezuka’s art is something that we have never been able to see, or at the very least, have remained unaware of. In the pattern of the weaving, the warp gives a three-dimensional mass to the thread that either did not exist or was not previously visible. Here, the thread that rises out of the background, which is usually invisible or unnoticed, becomes the object of expression.

The allegory inherent in giving expression to previously invisible thread and manifesting an existence which had been denied visibility is likely to suggest a host of meanings to contemporary viewers. As something that gives concrete form to these meanings, Tezuka Aiko’s thread arouses a new awareness in us.