Takahiko Iimura: Writing with light
Films and live performance by Takahiko Iimura
Saturday December 10, 19h, Admission $6
MICROSCOPE, 4 Charles Place Bushwick Brooklyn NY 11221
Microscope Gallery is very happy to welcome back from Tokyo Japanese master of experimental cinema Takahiko Iimura. The show will feature the NY premieres of several of Iimura’s works on film, as well as a special Super 8mm performance White Calligraphy, Re-read where Iimura will write with light. Not to be missed.
Eye For Eye, Ear For Ear (NY Premiere)
- Film Strips I (1967-1970/2009) 12 min, music by Haruyuki Suzuki (2009)
- Film Strips II (1967-70/2009) 13 min, music by Haruyuki Suzuki (2009)
“The best work of Iimura’s middle period is characterized by increasingly formal concerns, concerns most effectively demonstrated by Film Strips I and II (1967-70). Film Strips II […] resulted in an experience which is not only interesting visually, but which is implicitly a powerful record of a painful time and a warning about the future.”
– Scott MacDonald (Afterimage, April, 1978 (The author of “Critical Cinema,” California Univ. Press)
“When I came to the USA in the mid 1960s, it was the high point of the Hippie movement and the black riots. I lived in the East Village in New York, which was a center of the former, and watched TV news of the latter often. These two films, Film Strips I and II, were taken from the scenes respectively, not as a documentary but as an inner report of mine, abstracted yet chaotic.” — Taka Iimura
16mm film leaders, 1977, 15 min
“A totally abstract film using only four elements: a scratched line on black leader in the positive and the negative, and black and white spacings (leaders). All the elements are timed in, 1,2,3 seconds individually in two kinds of sound scratched on the sound track, one, intermittent, the other, continuous.” — T I
Writing with light: White calligraphy (NY Premiere)
with two documents of the performance:
- Performance 1, White calligraphy (1967/2009, Toronto, 9min)
- Performance 2, White calligraphy (1967/2005, Tokyo, 8.5 min)
Live drawing performance with Super 8mm film (NY Premiere)
White calligraphy, re-read (1967-present) 12 min
“In White Calligraphy, Re-Read, Takahiko Iimura returns to his early work. White Calligraphy which he originally made in 1967 by scratching characters from ‘Kojiki’, an early Japanese text, into the frames of 16mm black leader. In this re-reading of the illegible work, the film is slowed down and briefly arrested at random using digital processing while suddenly legible words are voiced by the artist in an accompanying soundtrack. Part translation (not only between Japanese and English but between media languages) part abstract interplay of picture sound and word.
This new work developed out of Iimura’s performance practice that has over the years, beginning with works associated with Fluxus and moving into his notion of Video Semiology, radically explored the signifying systems of meaning in moving image making.” — Dr. Duncan White (University of Arts, London)
“Recent years I have used this calligraphy film in super 8mm for my film performance, which is suitable for slow speed and freeze frame projection. With these devices, audience is easier to read the characters, and to understand a few fragments of the story. Even for non-Japanese audience, suddenly it reveals some “meaning” because of the iconographic character of “Kanji” (Chinese character) other than abstract lines. At my last performances of White Calligraphy in London, and Paris (2003), besides using of above devices I uttered loudly the character at freeze frame thus it gave sounds in this silent performance. It really changed a whole aspect of the performance giving another dimension with the voice. Then in 2005, in Tokyo, I tried to draw the characters on the wall while projecting transferring the text back to the writing.” — T I
Takahiko Iimura has been a pioneer artist of Japanese experimental film and video, working with film since l960 and with video since 1970 while residing in New York and Tokyo. He is a widely established international artist, having numerous solo exhibitions in major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum, New York, Anthology Film Archives, New York, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, the National Gallery Jeu de Paume, Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo in addition to an artist residency at the German Academy of Arts, Berlin, and Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Study Center, Bellagio, Italy.
Special thanks to Bruce McClure.