Tatsumi Hijikata

October 12 - November 30, 2019



Hyperallergic, November 30, 2019
Art Viewer, November 19, 2019
Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, November 13, 2019
Los Angeles TimesOctober 31, 2019
AUTREOctober 18, 2019





Tatsumi Hijikata was the founder of Ankoku Butoh (literally meaning, dance of darkness), widely known and practiced today, some 60 years later, as Butoh.


Hijikata arrived to Tokyo from the Northern rural Tohoku region in 1952 and worked blue-collar jobs to support his dance pursuits.  As his rural accent set him apart from Tokyo's urbanites, Hijikata filled his time reading French writers, such as Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and Georges Bataille.  Aesthetically, he looked towards artists such as Egon Schiele, Hans Bellmer and Willem De Kooning. Hijikata’s provocative performances stemmed from this exploration of eros, debauchery, disease and death, evoking the rarely seen dark half of the human psyche.  With awareness of German Expressionist dance and technical capabilities in Modern dance genres including jazz, flamenco, classical ballet and pantomime, Hijikata felt the imperative to develop a new dance form, and with the underlying notion of the anti-establishment, Hijikata's Butoh stands as a form of anti-dance.  The exhibition's organizer, Takashi Morishita has written "Hijikata's Butoh… is body art whose expression is a "convulsion of existence".


As an artist working in performance with relationship to Happenings, a popular in his times, Tatsumi Hijikata became a central figure in Japan's avant-garde and achieved lasting global influence.  At Nonaka-Hill, Hijikata’s archival material including video, photography, posters and ephemera will be featured, resulting from collaborations with and documentation by Genpei Akasegawa, Nori Doi, Hideo Fujimori, Masahisa Fukase, Roku Hasegawa, Eikoh Hosoe, Masuo Ikeda, Kenji Ishiguro, Yukio Mishima, Hiroshi Nakamura, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Tadao Nakatani, Makoto Onozuka, Kiyoshi Otsuji, Keiya Ouchida, Yutaka Takanashi, Ikko Tanaka / Hiroshi Yamasaki, Ryozen Tori, Tadanori Yokoo, Ruiko Yoshida and unknown others.


Tatsumi Hijikata is the first exhibition in the United States dedicated to Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986).  Organized by Takashi Morishita and Butoh Laboratory, Japan, with cooperation of Keio University Art Canter, Tokyo. Special thanks to Yoshiko Shimada.  The exhibition and brochure is made possible by a grant from The Pola Foundation. 

Installation Views