Artist: Tamio Shiraishi
Venue: Lisa Cooley, New York
Exhibition Title: Ten O’Clock Theatre of the Lust People
Date: January 17 – February 14, 2016
Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump.
Tamio Shiraishi, Performance by Dame-na-watashi (“I’m a Good-for-Nothing Girl”); August 21, 1981; Micky, Yokohama, Japan.
Tamio Shiraishi, Unidentified footage of a performance by Junko Shinozaki.
Images and videos courtesy of the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York
Tamio Shiraishi (b. 1949) is an alto saxophonist and vocalist who is a central figure in the history of art and noise music in Japan. He has played with the influential noise outfits Taco and A-Musik, and was an original member of Fushitsusha, alongside Keiji Haino, for their first performances in 1978. Since moving to New York in 1990, Shirashi has played with legendary local acts like No Neck Blues Band, in addition to performing extensively as a soloist in unconventional locales across the city—most famously in subway stations. He is known for his distinctive style, playing almost exclusively in the sharp, blistering, uppermost register of the instrument.
From 1978 to 1980 Shiraishi was a key participant and organizer in the art and music scene surrounding the seminal music venue Club Minor. Located in the western Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji, Minor became a key site in the evolution of new Japanese music. The space and its regulars created a melting pot from countless hybrid musical forms, interweaving psychedelic rock, early electronic music, punk, and European jazz, in addition to hosting programs and acts that were considered too unconventional or unclassifiable for other venues.
Shiraishi took several groups of photographs documenting this scene. One group of Shiraishi’s photographs captures four different nights during the run of Aiyoku Jinmin Juji Gekijo (the Ten O’Clock Theatre of the Lust People), a nightly series of specifically non-musical performances organized by Shiraishi at Minor. The photographs documenting these performances provide a rare visual analogue to a scene whose distinct musical character and output has been widely influential.
Performances in The Lust People took up theatrical formats to experiment with jarring imagery and dramatic tableaux. In one performance produced by a group calling themselves Luciferen Luciferease, actors lay languidly, motionless with faces covered, accompanied by a still life of fabrics, dejected floral arrangements, scattered shoes, dolls, and stuffed animals. Other dramatic presentations employed an Actionist style and combined theatre or drag. The additional performers included Yatasumi, Ryo Goitsuka, and Toshi Tanaka, respectively.
Typical of DIY/underground scenes, the audience for many of these events is outnumbered by the performers. Shiraishi’s photographs often capture these scenes from within the space of the performance. Photographs framed by a pair of performer’s feet or taken from directly above the performer reveal the eye and, by extension, the body of the photographer within the space of the performance, transgressing this mise en scène to take the viewer beyond the perspective of the seated audience member. By extending into the space of the performance, the photographs can be associated with the films of Babette Mangolte and Ernie Gehr or the performance photographs of Peter Moore.
In winter 1981, shortly after Minor’s closing the previous fall, Shiraishi met musician/artist Junko Shinozaki (1962-1987). Shinozaki was involved in a number of Tokyo’s underground scenes, and by spring the two began playing music together as Tamio Shiraishi and The Good For Nothing Girl. Displayed alongside Shiraishi’s performance photography are a small selection of intimate portraits of Shinozaki, taken during the time the two lived together. In addition, exhibited here are two videos from the musician’s personal archive, one featuring unidentified footage of a solo performance by Shinozaki and another documenting a Good for Nothing Girl set.
Organized by Alex Fleming.