Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eiko: A Body in a Station and A Body in Fukushima

Eiko: A Body in Fukushima
October 3, 2014 - April 5, 2015

Maguire Gallery, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is pleased to present Part I of A Body in Places by Eiko, which consists of two related works: A Body in a Station and A Body in Fukushima. A Body in a Station is a series of four three-hour durational performances created by Eiko to be performed alone in the North Waiting Room of Amtrak 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. A Body in Fukushima is an exhibition of still photographs by William Johnston of Eiko alone in a radically different terminal, the abandoned rail station in Fukushima, Japan.

A Body in Fukushima recounts a visit made by Eiko and William Johnston, photographer and Wesleyan University Professor of Japanese history, to the irradiated communities that were evacuated in March 2011 after the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plants in Japan suffered massive damage in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami. The resulting explosions caused a wide swath of the countryside to be evacuated. The plants continue to emit radiation and the cleaning process is slow and difficult leaving the residents in temporary housing while entire towns are left desolate. Eiko and Johnston traveled through areas that have only recently been opened to visitors, following the path of a train line where the service has been discontinued.  Many of the stations were partially or completely destroyed or contaminated by radiation, the buildings crumbled and the tracks overgrown with dried vines and weeds. By walking into each station and placing her body within, Eiko sought to remember the people and day-to-day lives that passed through the stations and towns before the disaster.

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