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Atsuko Goto Draws Haunting Visions of Women in “Dreaming Monster”

Dreams are considered important, real, and public in some cultures, but absurd, irrational and personal in others. Japan has its own history of dreaming, and the importance of dreams has evolved through Japanese supernatural beliefs and art for centuries. "Dreams are like strange stories," says Tokyo based artist Atsuko Goto, who builds on her own visions of dreams in her other-worldly mixed media drawings. "I draw what comes up from our unconscious, like hidden feelings reflected in our dreams."

Dreams are considered important, real, and public in some cultures, but absurd, irrational and personal in others. Japan has its own history of dreaming, and the importance of dreams has evolved through Japanese supernatural beliefs and art for centuries. “Dreams are like strange stories,” says Tokyo based artist Atsuko Goto, who builds on her own visions of dreams in her other-worldly mixed media drawings. “I draw what comes up from our unconscious, like hidden feelings reflected in our dreams.”

Previously featured on our blog here, Goto’s “dream-drawings” took particular prominence in her work after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, a time when dreaming offered both an escape from and reconciliation with a harsh reality. Her ongoing “Dreaming Monster” series depicts ethereal women, often described as “undead” or “zombie”-like in appearance, which can be attributed to her palette of grays and blues made from semi-precious Lapis-lazuli and gum arabic.

In part based on Izanami-no-Mikoto, or the goddess of creation and death, Goto’s ghostly incarnations of women are typically nestled among symbols of the living: colorful clusters of butterflies and delicate flower blooms decorate their long, flowing strands of hair as they navigate Goto’s inner world. She will debut new additions to her “Dreaming Monster” series in her upcoming solo show of the same name, opening on March 30th at the Mitsukoshi-Nihonbashi Art salon in Tokyo.

“Since my studies in France (2007-2009), and also after experiencing the earthquake of March 2011 in Japan, I strongly felt, and was made aware of how the Japanese viewed selflessness, resignation and obedience as virtues,” the artist shares. “I feel that Japanese live in the middle of a wide emptiness, locked up inside their imaginary cocoon, calm and sincere, but quietly desperate. As a Japanese myself, I draw imaginary landscapes seen from the inside of this world.”

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