While Tatsumi Hijikata and Eikoh Hosoe reflected the countercultural mood of Japan’s postwar avant-garde, the trauma of World War II is inscribed in both artists’ aesthetics.
Artists have transformed a vacant townhouse in Spanish Harlem for New York’s 2014 Frieze weekend. The temporary exhibition, Hot House, spans three different levels loosely corresponding to the three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy (1308–21): the basement is the Inferno, the middle section of the house is Purgatory, and the top is Paradise.
There’s a moment in your first life-drawing class where your perception shifts and you start looking at the naked body in front of you differently. At least that was my experience. Instead of feeling uncomfortable with the nudity or paying attention to judgments and assumptions about the person in front of me, I started to look at the lines and curves of their body, the connections between joints, colors, and textures.
Despite the setting — a small stage filled with nine dancers — there was a feeling of separateness and sadness. The Vangeline Theater, a Butoh dance group, celebrated its 10th anniversary on February 1 and 2 at the Triskelion Arts Aldous Theater; both nights were sold out, with more people waiting in line for standby tickets. On the second night, Saturday, the 74-person-capacity theater had viewers sitting in the aisles, brushing against those in the rows of seats, with still more people with their backs against the walls of the black box.
Every now and then, if lucky, you’ll encounter a mode of performance or an artwork that simultaneously requires and supplies a kind of attention that you didn’t even know existed. Sitting in an otherworldly, attentive, stupor, I had that experience watching marble white humans covered in a thin layer of dust on a stage that seemed to be both as empty as nothing at all and, at the same time, as full as a night sky.
As Sankai Juku begins their recent piece, TOBARI, everything melts into darkness and a lone human form materializes — bald, half-naked, monochrome; the dust looks like it’s marble or bone, maybe a thin layer of atomic ash, and it covers the body, which, for a while, is motionless; a quiet, lunar presence in a dark room.