We are very pleased to welcome back to Microscope Japanese film/video pioneer Takahiko Iimura – whose work is currently on view at the MoMA’s exhibition Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde through February 25th. This special one-night event features the US premiere of Iimura’s 1963 16mm film performance Screen Play and a screening of his Early Film Poems, a collection of 6 works made between 1962 and 1971 (shot on 16mm, 8mm and video), bearing witness to the artist’s early interest in Dadaist poetry. New soundtracks by Akiko Samukawa and Haruyuki Suzuki now accompany several of the films.
In Screen Play - which originally premiered in1963, at Sogetsu Hall in Tokyo – the film Iro (Color) (16mm, color, 1962) is projected directly onto the back of a performer whose clothes iimura gradually cuts away along the borders of the image. In this work, Iimura frees the projection screen from the rigid structure of the traditional screening by intervening on the projectable surface itself, allowing the light to pierce through the fabric and touch the skin of the body.
Iimura says about the projected film:
“I filmed the chemical reactions that emerged when I dropped some paint into oil from a close distance, maybe from ten centimetres away. These colours exploded and created waves, and for at the end I heated it up from underneath until it went black. Nekes once filmed an operation and projected that onto his stomach, but that was done in 1965 so I was a bit earlier.”
LIVE FILM PERFORMANCE
Screen Play (originally 1963), about 15min.
The film Color (1962) is projected onto the back of a performer who is sat faced away from the audience whilst another performer cuts the sitter’s suit in the shape of the screen. The film, that slowly reveals itself against the skin of the performer, is an abstract film that uses a mixture of colored paint that is heated from underneath. Music by Yasunao Tone (Sitter – Andrea Monti; Frame cutter – Taka Iiimura)
Early Film Poems
16mm & 8mm transferred to DVD, 6 films, 44 minutes
The Pacific Ocean (1971), 7min. music: Akiko Samukawa (2012)
Kiri (The Fog) (1970), 3min. silent
Honey Moon (1966) 7min. music: Akiko Samukawa(2012)
I Saw the Shadow (1966) 7min. silent
Dada 62 (1962) 10min. music: Haruyuki Suzuki (2012)