A Body in Fukushima: Recent Works
photo by William Johnston

A Body in Fukushima: Recent Works (2018)

William Johnston and Eiko presented another exhibition at the South Gallery of Zilkha Gallery in the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University during February of 2018.

On their first two trips to Fukushima in January and July of 2014 Eiko and William Johnston created the photos that became the basis for their Wesleyan exhibition of A Body in Fukushima in 2015. Since then, they have visited Fukushima twice more: in August, 2016 and June, 2017. The images on display in the most recent exhibition included three large photographs (90" x 60" and 65" x 44") from their visit in 2017, that were printed at the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida. These photos were all taken in places less than 4 miles away from theFukushima Daiichi that remain crucially irradiated since the meltdowns and explosions in 2011. To complement the photos, Eiko created a one hour video from hundreds of the photos taken during the same trip.

Also included in this exhibition were eight images from Eiko's performances at the Metropolitan Museum. In November, 2017, Eiko took on the challenge of performing all day in all three locations of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City—at the Met Cloisters, the Met Breuer, and the Met Fifth Avenue. Eiko created a seven-and-a-half-hour video from still images from Fukushima and projected it throughout her performances without repeating a single image.

I wanted to “stain” the walls of the Met with images of me in Fukushima. I wanted the viewers to feel the Met was connected, through the insistence of my body, with the landscape of post-nuclear disaster Fukushima.—Eiko Otake

Eiko does not so much perform for the camera for a “body in places,” but rather I consider the images in their presented forms as our performance. As a historian I am constantly aware that the past exists only in the present as we continually re-create it. Only in her or his gaze in the present moment does the viewer experience the performance.—William Johnston