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Seeing Through the Body

Seeing Through the Body
by Takahiko iimura

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Length 30 mins
Year 1969
Code: TI-Seeing
ISBN: 978-4-901181-37-2


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FLOWERS - 1968-69, 11 mins, colour
"While I was staying in New York in the 1960s during the rise of the hippie movement, I filmed performances of body painting by the artist, Kusama Yayoi, together with the performers. As I wasn't satisfied with merely documenting her performance, made super-impositions of flowers over the performance, more as a film poem than a documentary, since flowers was the symbol of the hippie movement as given the name "flower children." The performance, however, is not always in the foreground, but is woven like fabric among the superimposed flowers. Furthermore another female figure (Akiko Iimura) is inserted with her kimono contrasting to the scenes of Kusama's. The film ends symbolically in long shots a flower patterned dress with no body is suspended over the Empire State Building behind. Nearly 40 years later Tomomi Adachi composed a music for the film." - Takahiko iimura

Music:Tomomi Adachi (2007)
With:Yayoi Kusama (Body Painting) with the performers Akiko iimura

FACE - 1968-69, 19 min, colour
"In the same year that 'Flowers' was produced I happened to make the acquaintance of Mario Montez, a superstar of Andy Warhol's films whose name was taken after one time Hollywood Star, Maria Montez. I was attracted by his transvestite beauty. In addition to Mario's performance I also shot the performances by Donna Kerness, who had appeared in the black comedy of the Kuchar brothers' underground films, and Linda who was a personal acquaintance. Fiction and reality collide in microscopic montage with the sexual performances limited to only facial expressions in extreme close-up of those three females (including Mario). These close-ups were inherited from my earlier Love (1962), but this time the film was shot in color and focused on individual action. Perhaps the viewer's visual experience will be mixed, blurring the line between fiction and reality. A big, laughing voice throughout the film may sound, yet at the same time the nature of life will fuse (or alienates for some) all."
- Takahiko iimura

With:Mario Montez, Donna Kerness, Linda / Voice Over: Akiko iimura

Since the 1960s, Takahiko iimura’s explorations of the moving image have probed the relationship between media, time and language and have strived to redefine the exhibition of cinema as a mode of performance. He has worked closely with the giants of experimental film such as members of the Hi-Red Centre and Fluxus, Yoko Ono, Jonas Mekas, John Cage, Stan Brakhage and Stan Vanderbeek. His uncompromising work, here presented on DVD, bridges boundaries between film and performance art.

"Although Taka was and continues to be an active part of the New York avant-garde scene, he always remained an enigmatic, mysterious presence, pursuing his own unique route through the very center of the avant-garde cinema. While the intensity and the fire of the American avant-garde film movement inspired him and attracted him, his Japanese origins contributed decisively to his uncompromising explorations of cinema's minimalist and conceptualist possibilities. He has explored this direction of cinema in greater depth than anyone else." – Jonas Mekas

“From the early sixties, though Japanese, Iimura was well known as one of the first generation of the New York Underground ... For many years, Japanese experimental film was Takahiko iimura” - Malcolm Le Grice

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