Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2012

Ei Arakawa

A portrait of Ei Arakawa against a white and blue wall. He is wearing a suit and a black bow tie and leans one elbow against the wall while keeping his other arm bent at his waist.
Photo by Dan Poston.

Thanks to this generous grant, I was able to increase the stability of living in the U.S.I applied for a green card this year after staying in New York for fourteen years. I am expecting to be accepted by May 2013. I am happy to continue engaging with this city's creative and stimulating cultural productions and communities. Also because of the grant, I was able to engage in several major projects this year, including a one-week performance and five-month group show at Tate Modern… I participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale, and managed to produce three solo shows in both national and international cities such as in Vienna, Los Angeles, and New York.

- Ei Arakawa, January 2013

Biography

Ei Arakawa is a performance artist whose practice incorporates installation and film, and often involves friends, random passersby, and other artists. Arakawa and his brother Tomoo Arakawa frequently collaborate under the moniker United Brothers on projects that investigate both the present and history of Fukushima, Japan.

For the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Arakawa worked with Carissa Rodriguez to create Hawaiian Presence, a collaborative, performative installation that focused on fantasies and clichés of the Pacific Rim. Arakawa created three sculptures––that could be worn as hats for the live events––representing the islands of Manhattan, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Funds from Arakawa's Grants to Artists supported his one week performance and five month group show JOY OF LIFE and SINGLES NIGHT, at the Tate Modern, London (2012).

Arakawa's work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions internationally at Franco Soffiantino Contemporary Art Productions, Turin; The Front Room: Artist's Projects at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto; Sculpture Center, Queens; Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland; and Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna.

Arakawa's work has been featured in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, Artists Space, White Columns, MoMA PS1, Anthology Film Archives, Printed Matter, Performa05, Greene Naftali Gallery, Frieze Art Foundation, Japan Society Gallery, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

Prior to his 2012 Grants to Artists, Arakawa received The Altoids Award from the New Museum (2008), a Visual Art Grant from The Rema Hort Mann Foundation (2010), and an Artists' Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2009), and completed a an International Creator Residency Program at the Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, Japan (2011).

Arakawa received a B.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (2004) and an M.F.A. in Film/Video from Bard College (2006). In that same year he completed the Studio Program at the Whitney Museum of American Arts Independent Study Program. Arakawa has lectured at the School of Visual Art, Hunter College, The National Museum of Art, Osaka; and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

Artist Statement

I am currently working on a series of performance projects relating to Japan's nuclear crisis and its relevance, and irrelevance, in the New York art world. Because my brother runs a sun-tanning salon in Iwaki, Fukushima, he and his business (United Brothers) are the main collaborators of this project. Das Institut (artists Kerstin Brätsch and Adela Röder) and artist Sergei Tcherepnin have been collaborating with us as well, employing various sun-tanning machines as sources of inspiration as well as actual installation material, both visual and audio. Last summer we participated in a semi-traditional dance festival in Iwaki, Fukushima, and subsequent performances were held in cities such as Zurich, Lüneburg, Germany, Tokyo, and Chicago. I would like to continue this collaboration in other cities as well.

- December 2011

Persons hold the ends and center of two long 90-degree angle black planks on a reddish tan stage with a blue screen projecting images of persons lunging.
FCA-supported Singles Night at The Tanks at Tate Modern, 2012.
Group of people raising their arms upwards and lifting long boards above their heads on a stage with a blue screen projecting a drawing of people standing in a room.
Performance still from FCA-supported Singles Night and Kissing the Canvas at The Tanks at Tate Modern, 2012.
Arakawa discusses FCA-supported Kissing the Canvas and Singles Night at The Tanks at Tate Modern, 2012.
Persons hold up mirrors shaped like cacti in a bright white room wallpapered with palm plants and thin tree trunks.
Performance still from FCA-supported Archicactus (outgrow/autogrow), at Sao Paolo Biennial), with Sergei Tcherepnin, 2012.
Installation view of a white room filled with tables hosting rows of multi-colored boxes displaying juxtaposed letters and shapes. At the far-end of the room, gray blow-up dummies are rested against the walls
FCA-supported Bodycard Testimonials, with Nikolas Gambaroff, 2012, Galerie Meyer Kainer.
Sideways shot of a black screen projecting blue-colored text discussing an interview between
Performance still from FCA-supported Paris and the Wizard: The Musical at The Museum of Modern Art, 2013.
Performers wearing matching black tee-shirts –one performer wearing groucho glasses–hold lights and make gestures on a stage with screen projecting a dialogue box in german.
Performance still from FCA-supported Paris and the Wizard: The Musical at The Museum of Modern Art, 2013.
Low angled view of a performer onstage holding out a closed umbrella, their dimly lit body smattered in green and red light from a screen projecting a Sony advertisement.
Performance still from FCA-supported Paris and the Wizard: The Musical at The Museum of Modern Art, 2013.
People in a large gray room hold sweeping red, blue, and gray tarps over their heads.
Performance still from FCA-supported Paris and the Wizard: The Musical at The Museum of Modern Art, 2013.
Installation view of tables stacked with multi-colored box-like objects with letters and geometric shapes that are increased in size and pasted to the chests of three dummies arranged against the walls.
FCA-supported Bodycard Testimonials, with Nikolas Gambaroff, 2012, Galerie Meyer Kainer.