October 5, 2014 - Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) - Tokyo Art Meeting Ⅴ: Seeking New Genealogies—Bodies/ Leaps/ Traces
October 5, 2014

Tokyo Art Meeting Ⅴ: Seeking New Genealogies—Bodies/ Leaps/ Traces

Top: Kyogen Theatre Vol. 7 Mansai Boléro, 2011. Setagaya Public Theatre. Photo: Shinji Masakawa. Bottom: Dumb Type, memorandum. Installation. Photo: Yoko Takatani.

Tokyo Art Meeting Ⅴ
Seeking New Genealogies—Bodies/ Leaps/ Traces

September 27, 2014–January 4, 2015

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku
Tokyo 135-0022 


Seeking New Genealogies—Bodies/ Leaps/ Traces is an exhibition that aims to explore alternative cultural lineages. This exploration involves a re-examination of various forms of physical expression, such as dance—from folk and ritual dance to modern dance—sports, martial arts and traditional Japanese arts such as Noh, Kyogen and Kabuki. As a means of nonverbal communication, or as memories of a local topos or culture, these expressions are deeply connected with the spiritual aspect of our lives. Nevertheless, many of them have been ignored or lost since the European modernization in the 1830s.

“Genealogy” is also a methodology through which we can replace the word “History”―with a capital “H”—and instead interweave the threads of each of our individual histories.

This exhibition will also attempt to reevaluate contemporary forms of expression by mapping our cultural genealogies. Across these genealogies there are traces of memories and knowledge that remain in our bodies and which have been adapted to create contemporary art and cultural forms. Mansai Nomura was invited as the general advisor of this exhibition. Nomura―a master of Kyogen and Noh―has also been actively engaged in contemporary theater and performance both as an actor and director. He has inherited the 600-year tradition of Kyogen and Noh, and his body is primed to embrace new and creative forms of movement, by interacting with different forms of cultural expression. He has said that his vanguard experiments derive from the forms inherited in his body, clearly proving the existence of a pathway that directly connects traditional arts to the vanguard. This exhibition also aims to explore this pathway and in so doing, demonstrate an alternative way out from the failures of Western modernism which intended to counter any connections with pre-modern cultural knowledge and practices.

By tracing the genealogies between different forms of physical expression in the exhibited works, it is possible to see various new connections and shared aesthetics. For example, in the abstract way messages are communicated in the work of Dumb Type (a contemporary media artist group formed in 1984) and in Noh and Kyogen, which share a similar minimalist aesthetic. Kyogen is also an art form that abstractly reflected Japanese people’s criticisms of authority, their internal struggles and their anxieties―an approach also present in the work of Dumb Type, whose performance work criticized the superficiality of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s.

Sharon Lockhart and Ka Fai Choy rediscover experimental performances in the 1950s and revive them as visual works and experiential media devices. Chelfitsch deconstructs the borders of play and dance in an installation in which actor’s words and actions and the everyday activities of listless youths are stylized and exaggerated. Notations, digital data, archived images, YouTube… all of the medias and technologies in the exhibition also allow us to explore alternative genealogies.

Comprised of paintings, visual work, installations and archival material, this exhibition traces connections between Noh, Butoh and vanguard art in Japan since the 1950s, as well as live performances and experiences in the exhibition space.
Yuko Hasegawa, Curator

Chelfitsch / Ka Fai Choy / Dumb Type*1 / Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno / Teppei Kaneuji /
Sharon Lockhart & Noa Eshkol / Henri Matisse*2 / Julie Mehretu / Saburo Murakami/ Ernesto Neto / Mansai Nomura / Shintaro Oue + Mirai Moriyama + Shintaro Hirahara / Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company / Jackson Pollock / Dentsu Lab Tokyo & Rhizomatiks / Kazuo Shiraga / Atsuko Tanaka / Cy Twombly / Jiro Yoshihara
*1 Dumb Type’s display for their latest work: 27/9–16/11  
*2 Display period: 27/9–16/11
Performance Program A Curator: Akane Nakamura
Performance Program B Curator: Yuya Tsukahara(contact Gonzo)
Special thanks
Hidetoshi Nakata

Performance program:

Pichet Klunchun Dance Company
Tam Kai
Saturday, October 11, 14h
Sunday, October 12, 14h

Fee: free
*Exhibition ticket required (numbered ticket system/first-come basis/free seating)

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
Inbal Pinto’s first dance work made in a “white cube” space is a performance that demonstrates
her ability to use movement to transform a whole space into an installation.
Friday, October 24, 19h
Saturday, October 25, 14 and 19h
Sunday, October 26, 11 and 15h

Capacity:130 (email application/first come, first served/free seating)

*For further information (release date of tickets, how to buy, etc.) on this performance,
please visit our website.

Mansai Nomura & Shiro Takatani
Mansai Nomura will perform a 600-year-old dance as a form of spritual practice in which he appeases an Araburukami (a malevolent God). This will be accompanied by a “solar eclipse”  created using light and sound technology and special effects invented and produced by Shironi Takatani.
Wednesday, December 3
Wednesday, December 17
Fee: additional tickets required for this performance
*For further information (release date of tickets, how to buy, etc.) on this performance, please visit our website.

Toshiki Okada
In Chelfitsch’s new work, neologisms inspire a rapper’s movements.
Tuesday, December 23, 12, 14 and 16h
Fee: free
*Exhibition ticket required
Venue for all performanc programs is the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Exhibition Gallery B2F, Atrium

For further information on our programs, please visit our website.

Curated by Yuko Hasegawa (Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

Organized by Tokyo Metropolitan Government / Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo Culture Creation Project Office (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)
/ The Sankei Shimbun

In cooperation with Tokyo University of the Arts / Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company/ Sony PCL Inc.

Supported by Japan Arts Fund 

Under the auspices of Embassy of Israel in Japan 

Sponsored by NEC Display Solutions, Ltd. / Setagaya Public Theatre (Setagaya Arts Foundation) / Odawara Art Foundation / DMM.com Co., Ltd.

Exhibition Catalogue:
Seeking New Genealogies—Art/ Bodies/ Performances
Scheduled to be published in October
Publisher: Film Art Inc.

Press contact:
Mihoko Nakajima: m-nakajima [​at​] mot-art.jp
Reiko Noguchi: r-noguchi [​at​] mot-art.jp / T +81 (0) 3 5245 1134 / F +81 (0) 3 5245 1141

Tokyo Art Meeting Ⅴ: Seeking New Genealogies—Bodies/ Leaps/ Traces at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)
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