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OUT OF BODY: THE ART OF EI ARAKAWA

Ei Arakawa, See Weeds, 2011. Performance view, Les Abattoirs, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain à Toulouse, France, October 13, 2011. From Le Printemps de Septembre. Photo: Marc Boyer.

For nearly a decade, EI ARAKAWA has staged performances with startling brio, his makeshift sets, friendly throngs, and offhand gestures signaling a type of eccentric event that won’t be limited by art’s normal viewing structures. But the New York–based artist does not only act, he reenacts. Key to his works is an attention to the constructed, given, and preconceived—the repetition of history, the commodification of experience, the false intimacy of networks. He thus continually revisits the experimental art that has come before him, not least that of the postwar avant-gardes within and beyond Japan: Gutai, Jikken Kōboō, Hi-Red Center, and Fluxus, to name a few.

Artforum invited curator CATHERINE WOOD to explore Arakawa’s performances and his palpable engagement with this history—a fitting beginning to a suite of essays penned on the occasion of the major New York exhibitions “Tokyo

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