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Photo exhibition: A Body in Fukushima | Eiko + Koma
Photo exhibition: A Body in Fukushima
photo by William Johnston

Photo exhibition: A Body in Fukushima (2014-)

A Body in Fukushima, a series of photographs, is the collaborative work between Eiko and Japanese historian and photographer William Johnston. The project at large description and funding credit.

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 been invited to design and present a number of exhibitions for various spaces. They have also visited Fukushima twice more: in August, 2016 and June, 2017.

Exhibition of A Body in Fukushima
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia
(Oct. 3, 2014 through April 5 2015)

Galleries of Contemporary Art of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
(Dec.4, 2014 - Feb. 14, 2015)

Three galleries in Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
(Feb. 5- May 25, 2015)

Reynolds Industries Theater (American Dance Festival
(June-July, 2015)

Durham Art Council Gallery, Durham, NC
(June -July 2015)

Pioneer Works, Brooklyn
(Nov.13 -Dec. 20, 2015)

Centre Gabriela Mistral, Santiago, Chile
(Jan. 3-27, 2016)

Flynn Center, Burlington, VT
(Mar. 4-May 28, 2016)

Columbia University East Asian Studies Library
(Mar. 11- June 30, 2016)

St Mark's Church Sanctuary
(24 hour only event, Mar. 11-12)

Library, Raleigh, NC
(June-July, 2016)

A Gallery, Martha's Vineyard
(June-August, 2016)

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
(Octber. 6, 2016 - Mar. 12, 2017)

The Jacob's Pillow
(July 1-31, 2017)

Pittsfield Library
(July 1-31, 2017)

South Gallery of Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
(January 25 through Feb 15, 2018)

University of Toronto Robarts Library
and Toronto Reference Library

(Mar. 4 – Apr. 14, 2019)

Particularly to be noted is he 24 hour photo and video installation of A Body in Places,during the month-long Danspace Project's PLATFORM of A Body in Places in the sanctuary of St Mark's Church in East Village New York. Scholars and artists gathered for three roundtable discussions in prior to the opening of the exhibition. Eiko designed the shifting light and 24 artists performed at every hour at the hour joining  in the commemoration of the fifth year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. On March 11, 2017, the exhibition at the Cathedral of St Jon the Divine closed with another memorial, a four hour event, Remembering Fukushima that included  performances and installations by various artists. 

In February, 2018, Johnston and Eiko created another gallery show titled A Body in Fukushima: Recent works for the South Gallery of the Center for the Arts in Wesleyan University. This exhibition included three large size photos from their 2017 trip to Fukushima, a 65 min video Eiko re-edited consisting of Fukushima photos taken during their 2017 visit to Fukushima and selected still photographies of Eiko's performances at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. 

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

In March of 2019, University of Toronto presented A Body in Fukushima: Reflections on the Nuclear Everyday Life, a multi-sited, multi-media, and multi-disciplinary event consisting (1) Photo Exhibitions – March 4 to April 14; (2) A Body in a Library Performance by Eiko Otake – March 15; (3) Video Screening and Symposium – March 16.
Takashi Fujitani, The Professor of History and and the director of the Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Toronto who conceived and directed this ambitious events said he wanted to "demonstrate how art can contribute to critical reflection on the nuclearization of everyday life in our contemporary world."

Johnston and Eiko are working with designer Lucianda Hitchcock and Wesleyan Press on publication of the book A Body in Fukushima.

William Johnston's individual photographs are available for purchase. The sale will help the continuation and publication of the planned photo book.