Good Weekend Art Column

Hiromi Tango – Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney

Published August 31, 2019
Hiromi Tango, 'Bleached Genes (Sakura) Ritual - Hold me to be free '

Artist: Hiromi Tango

Lives: Tweed Heads, NSW

Age: 43

Represented by:Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney (MARS Gallery, Melbourne)

Her thing.Multi-media works in which abstraction and repetition are used to psychotherapeutic ends.

Our take.Hiromi Tango takes a holistic approach to art, working across different media, often collaborating with other people. Her creations can be on a grand scale and almost always include a performative element, whether it be the repetitive labour of stitching together the hundreds, if not thousands, of individual components in a textile sculpture; or an actual piece of theatre acted out in relation to an installation. In their intensity Tango’s performances resemble butoh, the extreme form of Japanese dance theatre that arose in the late 1950s.

In the works called Bleached Genes, Tango includes a photo of herself coated in plaster, sitting in front of a disc covered in tangled lines, sometimes holding a three-dimensional piece of her own making. Other sculptural works are dense agglomerations of small, ball-like forms made from kimino silk and yarn; along with mirrored perspex, light boxes and neon.

Tango has called the show Healing Circles because she believes there is something soothing and emotionally satisfying about this shape. When we talk about ‘closing a circle’ we imply both completeness and resolution. Yet there is such an obsessive-compulsive aspect to her work that she never seems to be soothed for very long. Few artists can boast such extraordinary reserves of energy.


 Can I afford it?

Tango tends to make works in series, with each item being identically priced. Six delicate abstract drawings in waxed coloured pencil, called Healing Circles(67cm by 56cm) are a very affordable $2,970 each. These images resemble coloured amoebas, shifting form and occasionally overlapping. The most expensive pieces are the five photo-works called Bleached Genes(174.5cm by 124.5cm; edition of 3, plus 2 artist’s proofs) at $15.400 each. This represents only a fraction of the artist’s record price of $100,000 for a large commission.

Where can I have a squiz?

Sullivan + Strumpf, 799 Elizabeth St. Zetland, Sydney

24 August – 23 September,


Published in The Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August, 2019