Sounds of Norio Imai – ACG 20th Anniversary Vol. 3

2023. 5.13 [sat] - 6.24 [sat] 11:00-18:00 (Saturdays -17:00) Closed on Sun, Mon

ARTCOURT Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Norio Imai.
Imai has continued to express himself, attuned to the changing times, in a wide range of media and art forms, from his monochromatic white semi-3D canvas works and sculptures of the 1960s to his time-based works in film, video, and photography from the 1970s through the 1990s and onwards, as well as his performances in which he and the performers corporeally intervene into the works.
From the earliest stages of his artistic career, the presence of sound has been one of his prominent preoccupations. In the 1970s, Imai created and exhibited works that rendered sound into an artistic material, using heartbeats and audio equipment. This exhibition will be a comprehensive presentation of his sound-based works from the 1970s and related referential materials with technical and conceptual cooperation by Yukio Fujimoto, an artist and longtime friend of Imai. We will introduce a variety of Imai’s endeavors in expression from the perspective of ‘sound’ through his works from the 1970s as well as his most recent installations that allow visitors to experience audio recordings and cassette tapes visually and physically.


When I went to my first rock concert as a junior high school student, I was amazed at how the sound reverberated from my feet through my body. I learned that sound was not only something to listen to but that it could also be experienced physically. It was around the same time that I observed the vibrations of the speaker’s cone while listening to records and learned that sound could also be experienced visually.
Later, when I learned about the existence of musique concrète, a new musical genre that used electronic devices and technological audio equipment, I vaguely began to visualize the trajectory of my future. However, I felt slightly unsettled about the emotive expression of music. I had been wondering if it was possible to use sound as a tool for philosophical reflection, but at first, I could not envision a concrete method.
One day, after entering university to study electronic music, I was leafing through the pages of Bijutsu Techo, and I came across an article about some artists who were transmitting the sound of their heartbeats on the streets of Namba in the heart of Osaka City; this was my first encounter with Norio Imai.

By Yukio Fujimoto, exhibition collaborator


On his new work: Audio Garden

In conversation, our voices produce many sounds. The vast majority fade outside the scope of recollection, and some penetrate the depths of our memory. When those sounds are captured, there is an intent to record for the purpose of reproduction; this applies to surveillance cameras or even telephone calls. While some of those sounds might be played back once, most will never be played back at all and are sealed as data in some media but, in many cases, are discarded. Ultimately, what happens to unrecorded conversations and their sounds?
Since the autumn of 2022, my fascination with this question has led me to record individual conversations with 12 different people onto cassette tapes under the premise that they would not be replayed. In this exhibition, I have endeavored to utilize sound as media residue to orchestrate a space that can be experienced visually and physically.

Norio Imai


  • Sounds of Norio Imai – ACG 20th Anniversary Vol. 3

Related events

  • 5.20 [sat] 14:00-15:30
    Talk session [Yukio Fujimoto (Artist) & Norio Imai]
    *We stopped accepting applications because there is no more place available.


Norio Imai