A Body in Fukushima

This exhibition runs Thursday, February 5, 2015 through Sunday, May 24, 2015

Eiko in Fukushima, photo: Bill Johnston

Wesleyan University's College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
A Body in Fukushima
Tuesday, February 3 through Sunday, May 24, 2015
College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center
Thursday, May 21 through Sunday, May 24, 2015
South Gallery, Erza and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
Middletown, Conn. – A Body in Fukushima is a haunting series of color photographs and videos presented in a groundbreaking exhibition across all three of Wesleyan’s galleries: the South Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery; the Davison Art Center; and the College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center. In 2014, dancer-choreographer Eiko Otake and photographer-historian William Johnston followed abandoned train tracks through desolate stations into eerily vacant towns and fields in Fukushima, Japan. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the explosions of the Daiichi nuclear plant there made the area uninhabitable. Sometimes in vulnerable gestures and at other times in a fierce dance, Ms. Otake embodies grief, anger and remorse. Mr. Johnston’s crystalline images capture her with the cries of the Fukushima landscapes. “By placing my body in these places,” she says, “I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. I danced so as not to forget.”  A project of witness, remembrance and empathy, A Body in Fukushima grapples with the reality of human failure. As Mr. Johnston writes, “By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important.”
William Johnston is Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Wesleyan, and Eiko Otake is Visiting Artist in the Dance Department and the College of East Asian Studies. A Body in Fukushima was co-commissioned by Wesleyan University and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. This project was made possible in part by funds from the Japan Foundation, the Creative Campus Initiative of the Center for the Arts, and the Office of Academic Affairs, Wesleyan University.
A Body in Fukushima will be on display in Wesleyan University art galleries as follows. Admission to all three galleries is free. All galleries are closed on Mondays. 
  • Thursday May 21, 2015 through Sunday, May 24, from Noon to 5pm: South GalleryEzra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, 283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut.
  • Tuesday, February 3 through Sunday, May 24, 2015 from Noon to 4pm: College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center, 343 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut (Closed Friday, March 6 through Tuesday, March 24, 2015).
Admission to the artist talk, gallery tours, and opening receptions is free. 
Related Events
3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan
Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 4:30pm
Seminar Room, Mansfield Freeman Center, College of East Asian Studies
A lecture by Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies, and Founding Director of MIT Japan Program 
A Body in Places
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10pm 
Olin Library Lobby, 252 Church Street
A Body in Places is dancer/choreographer Eiko Otake’s first solo project, which incorporates both performative and non-performative elements, and includes the photography exhibition A Body in Fukushima. Central to the project is a drive to explore non-traditional venues and to respond to the innate characteristics of each specific place.  At the core of each variant is her alone exploring solitude, gaze, fragility, and intimacy. Performing as a soloist, she willfully partners with the particularities of places and viewers. The conversation that happens in the community becomes an integral part of the experience for audience and artist alike.
Ralph Samuelson MA ’71 
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 8pm
Seminar Room, Mansfield Freeman Center, College of East Asian Studies