Although founded in early 1960s New York, the pioneering interdisciplinary art community Fluxus included participants from around the world, notably several from Japan. Born out of the influence of John Cage and the Dada movement, the loose group included composers, conceptual artists, filmmakers, video artists, sculptors, and performance artists and resulted in new forms of visual and sound art. The names of the western members are in greater currency, but the Japanese contingent, most famously Japanese émigré Yoko Ono, freely intermingled between the Tokyo avant-garde and the New York downtown art scene resulting in a number of arresting films.
Never formally a Fluxus member, Takahiko Iimura nevertheless collaborated with many Fluxus artists on both sides of the Pacific and shared roots in a Neo-Dada outlook. His first film Kuzu (Junk) features the trash strewn everywhere on Tokyo Bay to the music of Fluxus composer Takehisa Kosugi. Iro (Color) and Onan both feature collaborations with fellow Fluxus composer Yasunao Tone to explore abstract color and erotic desire respectively. And Ai (Love) breaks down sex and the body in extreme close up alongside the vocal experiments of Yoko Ono. Ono herself made numerous films, most fruitfully as part of the Fluxfilm anthologies organized by Fluxus godfather George Maciunas. One, the fourteenth film in the Fluxfilm series, is an extreme slow motion record of a match striking in close up and a visualization of “Lighting Piece” from her classic book “Grapefruit”. Bottoms is perhaps Ono’s most famous film, and is constructed solely out of the buttocks of artists and friends in her circle including Carolee Schneemann. The program will end with Cut Piece, a documentation by Albert and David Maysles of Ono’s most influential performance in which she invited audience members to cut off articles of her clothing, exploring issues of gender, power and violence.
Co-presented with Nightletter.
Kuzu (Junk) / Takahiko Iimura / 1962 / 12 min / 16mm
Iro (Colors) / Takahiko Iimura / 1962 / 10 min / 16mm
Onan / Takahiko Iimura / 1963 / 8 min / 16mm
Ai (Love) / Takahiko Iimura / 1963 / 10 min / 16mm
One / Yoko Ono / 1966 / 4 min / 16mm
Bottoms / Yoko Ono & Anthony Cox / 1966 / 6 min / 16mm
Cut Piece / Albert & David Maysles / 1966 / 8 min / 16mm
Takahiko Iimura “Kuzu” (low res excerpt)