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A Duet With My Grandfather I Have Never Met (2018) | Eiko + Koma

A Duet With My Grandfather I Have Never Met (2018)

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As a part of Eiko's new Duet Project: Distance is Malleable, Eiko creates a duet with her grandfather's paintings. Painter Chikuha Otake (1878-1936) who died 16 years before Eiko was born. A duet with a dead person's work is an attempt to learn about the dead, his art, and take in and share the remains of the dead. It is to also discover and nurture the self in relationship to the dead.The texts are taken from Chikuha's published essay. Video edit and translation by Eiko

Chikuha was a praised figure in traditional Japanese painting. He earned many national awards in his early career. But later his experimenting with more ambitious styles and his anti-mainstream sentiments were shunned by the field authorities. Out of his frustration, he ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 1915. His loss brought him much debt and his reputation was severely damaged.

The exhibition in Toyama marked the 140th anniversary of Chikuha Otake’s birth and was the first large-scale showing of his work more than 80 years after his death. The second picture in the video, "A Visit" is in the collection of Tokyo MoMA and the Trilogy of paintings "Sun," "Moon," and "Star" are in the collection of Miyagi Prefecture Museum. The latter were painted in 1920, when Chikuha's first son, Eiko's father, was born.

The footage of the painting "The Fall of the Castle" was recorded at Philadelphia Museum of Arts on November 8, 2018 during the exhibition "Philadelphia Collects Meiji"  (camera by David Brick) and the rest of the footage was recorded at Toyama Suiboku Museum in Japan on March 12, 2018 during Chikuha's solo exhibition (camera by Ryohei Endo, the curator of the show).

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