Takako Saito

Takako Saito (1929 – present)

“[Takako Saito] always keeps central aspects in mind: an orientation towards the audience, an in-depth interest in the material and the work process, the joy of playing, and last but not least, a grounding that has grown in everyday life.”

– from Saito’s official website

Takako Saito was born into a wealthy family in Sabae-shi, Japan in 1929. She initially studied child psychology at Japan Woman’s University Tokyo (Nihon Joshi Daigaku).

In taking part in the art education movement, Sōzō Biiku undo, for artistic creative education founded by Teijirŏ Kubo in 1953, Saito met Ay-O (Takao Iijima) during one of the workshops held by the group. Through him, Saito discovered the avant-garde movements in Tokyo.

In 1963, Saito moved to New York where Ay-O introduced her to George Maciunas who in turn introduced her to Fluxus. Maciunas was fascinated by Japanese wooden boxes made without nails and asked Saito to create some of her own. Out of this transpired Saito’s Boxes, of which the best known are the variations of the chess box: Nut & Bolt Chess (1964); Grinder Chess (1965) and Fluxus Chess (1965):

Nut & Bolt Chess (1964)

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Saito was part of the Fluxus movement produced multi-media, installation and sculptural work in collaboration with other Fluxus artists including Robert FilliouGeorge Brecht, Dorothy Iannone, Gerhard Rühm, Ben VautierDick Higgins and Bob Watts.


Official Website:

Official website (English & German): https://takakosaito.com/


Biography (from Archives of Women Artists Research & Exhibitions) & visual exhibits: https://awarewomenartists.com/en/artiste/takako-saito/ 

Biography & details of Saito’s ‘You and Me Shop’ (English & German): https://boa-basedonart.com/exhibitions/takako-saito/

Biography, Galerie Clasing (German): https://www.galerie-clasing.de/kuenstler/takako-saito/

Biography & CV: https://galleryviewer.com/en/gallery/77/galerie-van-gelder/artists/3640/takako-saito

Biography, Archivio Conz: http://archivioconz.com/artist/takako-saito/


16 works online, MoMA: https://www.moma.org/artists/5117

Visual exhibits: http://www.hundertmark-gallery.com/artist-takako-saito.0.html

MUSIC Book (1980): https://zkm.de/en/artwork/music-book

88 works online: ​​https://www.fondazionebonotto.org/en/collection/fluxus/saitotakako 

Music Bottle (‘Musik Flasche’) (1983): https://www.mumok.at/de/music-bottle

Spice Chess (‘Gewürz-Schach’): https://www.mumok.at/de/spice-chess

Perfume Chess (‘Parfum-Schach’) (1977-1978): https://www.mumok.at/de/perfume-chess

Visual exhibits, Artnet: http://www.artnet.de/k%C3%BCnstler/takako-saito-and-dieter-roth/

Visual exhibits: https://www.artax.de/takakosaito.html

Mr Saito’s Fluxus (1994): https://whitney.org/collection/works/33173

Small Chess Set, Christie’s: https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6221769

Do It Yourself (1989-1990): https://www.bonner-kunstverein.de/en/editionen/do-it-yourself/

Visual exhibits: https://raphael-levy.com/de/kunstler/takako-saito/

Grinder Chess (‘Schleifbohrer-Schach’): https://www.mumok.at/de/grinder-chess 

Sound Chess (‘Geräusch-Schach’) (1977-1978): https://www.mumok.at/de/sound-chess

Weight Chess (‘Gewicht-Schach’) (1977-1978): https://www.mumok.at/de/weight-chess

Live Performances:

Live performance (1999); ‘You and Me’ exhibition trailer: https://www.art-in.de/biografie.php?id=1008

Live performance of Kopfwürfelspiel at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BvDAP5EPyc&ab_channel=MGKSiegen


January 2014 oral interview with Saito (Japanese with ability to translate to English): http://www.oralarthistory.org/archives/saito_takako/interview_01.php


‘Takako Saito: Retrospektive’ (German with ability to translate to English): https://www.siegener-zeitung.de/siegen/c-lokales/takako-saito-retrospektive_a8476

‘Schach mit geschlossenen Augen. – Die 88-jährige Fluxuskünstlerin Takako Saito in Siegen’ (German): http://www.kunst-mag.de/2018/01/29/schach-mit-geschlossenen-augen-die-88-jaehrige-fluxuskuenstlerin-takako-saito-in-siegen/


Takako Saito exhibition ‘You and Me’: https://www.mgksiegen.de/en/ausstellungen/500/takako-saito

Exhibition overview & biography: https://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/en/program/takako-saito

List of solo and group exhibitions, articles: http://www.galerievangelder.com/artists/saito3.html


Biography and Takako Saito: Spontaneous Music’: https://www.edition-telemark.de/864.01.html

Further Reading:

‘Takako Saito: DREAMS TO DO’ edited by Alice Motard, Eva Schmidt, Johannes Stahl: https://www.snoeck.de/book/448/Takako-Saito%3A-DREAMS-TO-DO