EIKO OTAKE: I Invited Myself, vol. III
September 9, 2023 - December 9, 2023
*The gallery will be closed Saturday, October 7th for AAI's annual Block Party.
Additional holiday closures: November 7th & 11th.
On November 9th, the gallery will close early at 5pm for a screening during the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.
“I want to create media works only a performer can make. If a viewer chooses to give ample time and attention to each piece, ‘a different kind of performance’ happens between she and I. Her seeing becomes a uniquely personal experience, in which I wish to linger.”
I Invited Myself, vol. III: A Body is a solo exhibition of media works by the movement-based interdisciplinary artist Eiko Otake (B.1952, Tokyo). Shown here are primarily Eiko’s dance-for-camera works which directly address the viewer who sees the work at the gallery. Other selections are documentations of Eiko’s public performances, in which she is intimate with, yet confrontational to individuals who are present at the sites. In both, the artist uses her body as a conduit between a particular place and a viewer, hoping to alter their sense of distance. An immigrant from Japan and a resident in New York, Eiko intentionally holds her gaze as a “foreigner”. As such, Eiko also brings her body to places marked by human violence, namely, Fukushima and Wyoming.
Co-presented by Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) and The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), I Invited Myself, vol. III in Philadelphia is a two-part exhibition. Part One, I Invited Myself, vol. III: A Body at AAI focuses on Eiko’s body in solitude. Part Two, I Invited Myself, vol. III: Duets at FWM, opening on November 9, 2023, highlights her collaborative projects with artists of different races, identities, cultures, disciplines, and ages.
This exhibition is co-curated by Joyce Chung, Curator at AAI, and Eiko Otake, with curatorial assistance by Dominique Chua, Creative Assistant at AAI.
Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist. From 1972–2013, Eiko worked as Eiko & Koma, creating 46 performance works, two career exhibitions, and numerous media works. Their durational performance living installations were commissioned by the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and MoMA. Their Retrospective Project (2009–2012) culminated in a comprehensive monograph, Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty, published by the Walker Art Center.
Eiko now directs her own projects and performs as a soloist. She also creates films, videos, sound/voice pieces, and installations. Eiko’s solo project A Body in Places mounted over 70 site-specific performances and a month-long Danspace Project Platform of the same title in 2016. In 2021, she created two monologue pieces: They did not hesitate for Hiroshima Nagasaki memorial and Slow Turn for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Working with historian and photographer William Johnston in many locations of irradiated Fukushima since 2014, Eiko produced the multi-dimensional project A Body in Fukushima that includes exhibitions, installations, screenings, and performances. Co-presented by Performa 2017 and Met Live Arts, Eiko performed all day at each of the three Metropolitan Museum of Art sites while projecting a seven-hour video she created from photographs taken in Fukushima. In 2021, her Fukushima project culminated with the publication of a book by Wesleyan University Press and the world premiere of a feature length film of the same title at the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight Film Festival.
Launched in 2017, The Duet Project: Distance Is Malleable is a mutable and evolving series of experiments in collaboration with the living and dead that Eiko directs and performs within. Negotiating differences of race, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, discipline, and gender, the artists seek to maximize the potentials of their encounters. Her collaborators include Joan Jonas, Margaret Leng Tan, and Beverly McIver, among others. The Duet Project also produced collaboratively created video works, including a feature length film No Rule Is Our Rule with Beijing-based artist Wen Hui.
In 2022, Eiko started her ten-year project I Invited Myself, in which she creates, advocates, and exhibits her media works. Elise Butterfield co-curated the first iteration in 2021 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and the second iteration was presented at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The third iteration in fall 2023 will be at the Asian Arts Initiative and Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia. In 2023, she also presented two installations and two installation-related performance works in New York—Mother at the Historic Chapel in the Green-Wood Cemetery and Drawing in Circles with Joan Jonas at the Castelli Gallery.
This exhibit is made possible with the support of William Penn Foundation, The Culture and Community Power Fund, Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Performance Network.