Aiko Suzuki

A Space Main Gallery

May 7 – June 11, 2005

Working with Toronto filmmaker Midi Onodera on video elements, the show features an original soundscape by Berlin based composer Chiyoko Szlavnics, and an interpretive essay by award-winning Toronto author/critic Kerri Sakamoto. Visit Aiko's website at

A Space Gallery is very pleased to be presenting Bombard/Invade/Radiate by Toronto-based senior artist Aiko Suzuki. A contemporary of such artists as Joyce Weiland and Irene Whittome, Suzuki is often characterized as a renegade, particularly within the genre of textiles and fibre, which she began working with in the 1970s. In her newest project, the artist has extended her use of media to video in order to explore its image making, narrative and sculptural dimensions. Comprised of three interrelated installations (textiles, audio and video) Suzuki addresses her very personal experience as a woman living with cancer. Inspired by Susan Sontag’s groundbreaking text, Illness as Metaphor, in which she observed that cancer treatment “has a military flavour,” Suzuki utilizes the language and imagery of warfare to position and confront taboos surrounding the disease and its treatment in the medical establishment.

Suzuki’s show manifests the body and forces of nature in a highly representational form. In three large projections, Suzuki stands at the seashore waving flags signalling by semaphore (a system of military signing) three words: bombard, invade, radiate. In another installation, a video monitor set into a rusted bomb casing, plays World War II footage of bombs released from American fighter planes. Set face up, droplets of water fall continuously, visibly distorting the screen’s surface. In an audio installation, three listening posts play excerpts of conversations between Suzuki and her oncologist referencing metaphors that set the context for the exhibition. These powerful and moving installations engage the viewer as witness to a system of thought that conceptualizes the patient’s body as both enemy and victim, in the name of healing.


For over three decades, Aiko Suzuki has worked in a variety of mediums, including painting, mixed media, fibrework, and printmaking. Recently she has incorporated natural materials (bamboo, vines, branches) in works that invoke yet alter traditions and the nature-worship inherent in her Japanese heritage. Suzuki has won numerous awards and commissions, and her works are in museum collections across Canada. Since 1969, she has collaborated with major Canadian modern dance choreographers, designing sets that have toured internationally.