Mieko Shiomi (composer)

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Mieko Shiomi
Born(1938-01-01)1 January 1938
Other names塩見 允枝子

Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi (塩見 允枝子, Shiomi Mieko, born 1938) is a Japanese artist and composer.


Mieko Shiomi was born in Okayama, Japan. She began music lessons as a child and studied music at the State University of the Arts in Tokyo in 1957. In 1960 she founded the group Ongaku to explore improvisation and action. Members of this group included Takehisa Kosugi, Shukou Mizuno, Mikio Tojima, and Gen’ichi Tsuge, with Yasunao Tone joining later. The group hosted performances by artists including John Cage, La Monte Young and George Brecht. The group was interested in objets sonore or sound objects of Musique concrète.[1] To this end, they pursued sounds outside of what is normally considered music. Such non-musical sounds included a vacuum cleaner, radio, and kitchenware as well as experiments with tape music.[1] According to the artist:

This explosion of activity [of group Ongaku] was characteristic of our insatiable desire for new sound materials and new definitions (redefinition) of music itself. Every week we discovered some new technique [or] method for playing a previously unthought of 'objet sonor,' and argue endlessly about how to extend its use, and what relationships of sound structure could be created between each performer. We experimented with the various components of every instrument we could think of, like using the inner action and frame of the piano, or using vocal and breathing sounds, creating sounds from the (usually unplayable) wooden parts of instruments, and every conceivable device of bowing and pizzicato on stringed instruments. At times we even turned our hands to making music with ordinary objects like tables and chairs, ash trays and a bunch of keys.[1]

She returned to Okayama in March 1962 after completing her Bachelor's and a year of graduate study at the State University of the Arts in Tokyo. In a solo performance at the Okayama Cultural Center she performed her own new compositions but also those by American composers John Cage and Morton Feldman.[2] Between 1963 and 1964 she began to compose action poems, eliminating musical notation from the score entirely in favor of verbal instructions to be interpreted by the performer.[2]

From 1964 to 1965, she lived in New York City, having been invited by George Maciunas, where she contributed to Fluxus events.[3] Shiomi participated in the Perpetual Fluxfest at Washington Square Gallery on 30 October 1964. She performed six pieces which all incorporated the audience members as participants.[4] He incorporated many of her works, such as Endless Box (1963-63) and Water Music (1965) into Fluxus Editions.[5] She returned to Japan in 1965 but continued her relationship with Fluxus artists through mail art correspondence. Of her experience in New York, she described it as a time in which she, "looked at various things in her daily life from different viewpoints and transformed them into nondaily actions (performance), and made a feedback of these actions into my daily life again."[6] She began her Spatial Poem series while still in New York. Shiomi solicited Fluxus members from all over the globe to participate by inviting them to respond to an instruction and the collected responses constituted the work.[7] The nine Spatial Poems were published together in a booklet in 1975.[7]

From 1965 to 1970 Mieko Shiomi lived in Tokyo and taught piano. She reconnected with members of the Japanese avant-garde. After 1977, she returned to work on her own compositions but continued her links with Fluxus. Shiomi lives and works in Osaka.[8]


Mieko Shiomi composes events with music and environmental action. Selected works include:

  • Endless Box, 1963–64
  • Water Music, 1965
  • Disappearing Music for Face, score
  • Disappearing Music for Face, 1966 (Film, 16mm black and white, 11:41)
  • Spatial Poems (series of 9 events)[9]

Her work has been recorded and issued on CD, including:

  • Requiem for George Maciunas, 1990
  • Fluxus Suite (CD), 2002


  1. ^ a b c Yoshimoto, Midori (2005). Into Performance : Japanese Women Artists in New York. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-0813535210.
  2. ^ a b Yoshimoto, Midori (2005). Into Performance : Japanese Women Artists in New York. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 145.
  3. ^ Butler, Cornelia; Adler, Esther; Schwartz, Alexandra (2010). Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art.
  4. ^ Yoshimoto, Midori (2005). Into Performance : Japanese Women Artists in New York. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 154.
  5. ^ C-MAP_MoMA (18 January 2013), Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 2, retrieved 7 March 2018
  6. ^ Yoshimoto, Midori (2005). Into Performance : Japanese Women Artists in New York. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 155.
  7. ^ a b "Spatial Poems by Shiomi Mieko | post". post.at.moma.org. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi". Fluxus East. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  9. ^ Gray, John (1993). Action art: a bibliography of artists' performance from futurism.