Tatsumi Hijikata & Eikoh Hosoe: Collaborations with Tatsumi Hijikata

When 12 Oct 2019 - 30 Nov 2019
Where Nonaka-Hill
720 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
United States
Enquiry 323.450.9409

Tatsumi Hijikata

Tatsumi Hijikata was the founder of Ankoku Butoh (literally meaning, dance of darkness), widely known and practiced today, some 60 years later, as Butoh. Hijikata arrived to Tokyo from the Northern rural Tohoku region in 1952 and worked blue-collar jobs to support his dance pursuits. As his rural accent set him apart from Tokyo’s urbanites, Hijikata filled his time reading French writers, such as Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and Georges Bataille. Aesthetically, he looked towards artists such as Egon Schiele, Hans Bellmer and Willem De Kooning. Hijikata’s provocative performances stemmed from this exploration of eros, debauchery, disease and death, evoking the rarely seen dark half of the human psyche. With awareness of German Expressionist dance and technical capabilities in Modern dance genres including jazz, flamenco, classical ballet and pantomime, Hijikata felt the imperative to develop a new dance form, and with the underlying notion of the anti-establishment, Hijikata’s Butoh stands as a form of anti-dance. The exhibition’s organizer, Takashi Morishita has written “Hijikata’s Butoh… is body art whose expression is a “convulsion of existence”‘.

Eikoh Hosoe: Collaborations with Tatsumi Hijikata

The celebrated photographer, Eikoh Hosoe (1933) was a long-time friend and collaborator of Tatsumi Hijikata, having first met in 1959 at Hijikata’s debut Ankoku Butoh performance, Forbidden Colors (Kinjiki), based on the novel by Yukio Mishima, with whom Hosoe would also create significant collaborations. Hosoe was then a member of the independent photo agency, VIVO along with Kikuji Kawada, Ikko Narahara, Akira Sato, Akira Tanno, Shomei Tomatsu. The VIVO photographers steered away from then popular objective realism towards a more subjective and expressive approach. In 1960, Hosoe founded the Jazz Film Laboratory (Jazzu Eiga Jikken-shitsu) to produce multi-disciplinary artworks. Featuring Tatsumi Hijikata in his early career, Hosoe’s intense black and white short film Navel and A-Bomb (Heso to genbaku), 1960 contemplates a new beginning provoked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Image: Eikoh Hosoe, Kamaitachi #31, 1968/2015, Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the event organizer.

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