AN Installation by Eiko Otake
February 25th–MAY 7th
Free and Open to the Public Daily 10am–5pm
We all came from a mother, even if some people never met their mother. From their own birth, mothers contain all the eggs that they will ever have in life. We have been formed from unmeasurable time. Remembering or imagining a mother’s life and body is also to reflect on our own life and body, and beyond. — Eiko Otake
In her fifty-year career, Eiko Otake has performed in theaters and museums as part of Eiko & Koma and as a soloist, as well as working in photography, video, and installation to expand the reach of her performance practice. She has often explored themes of loss, which has included practicing her own death, conversing with the dead, and moving among the abandoned remains of irradiated Fukushima. Otake is interested in communing with and surveying the physical and emotional traces of the deceased.
In Mother, through videos and sculpture, Otake talks to and dances with her mother, who died in 2019. It is one daughter and her mother’s personal story. The artist, however, hopes viewers have an opportunity to contemplate their own maternal bonds, as well as the diverse yet common connection to a mother that “links us all to the distant past.” Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel is a poignant setting for Mother, as for over a century it has provided many with a place for such reflection.
Mother is curated by Harry Weil, Green-Wood’s Vice President of Education and Public Programs. Iris McCloughan aided in the installation’s creation as a dramaturg. Mother includes two videos created in 2019 soon after Otake’s mother passed away, as well as photo prints and objects. The video of the artist speaking is excerpted from “Elegies,” made in collaboration with John Killacky and Brian Stevenson. The other, “With Mother in Twilight,” was filmed by Rebekkah Palov.
Made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Artist
Eiko Otake is an interdisciplinary artist and performer. Throughout her five-decades-long career, she has often created works dealing with death and loss. Land, 1991, a collaboration with Native American musician Robert Mirabal, dealt with historical massive violence, while Wind, 1993, dealt with the death of a child. Offering was performed in many parks as a ritual of mourning in 2002 after 9/11, followed by Death Poem, 2005, and Mourning, 2007. Most recently on September 11, 2022, Slow Turn commemorated the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. Her last performance at The Green-Wood Cemetery, A Body in a Cemetery, 2020, was the latest manifestation of the project, A Body in Places which began in 2014 as a twelve-hour solo performance at Philadelphia Station. Otake also performed A Body in Places at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for three days in 2017 and, as part of a month-long Danspace Project Platform in 2016, she performed every day in different places. for the same project. Ongoing is The Duet Project, where Otake has collaborated with twenty-four living artists and four deceased to date.
Otake has won many awards, including a special, Bessies Special Citation, Anonymous Was a Woman Award, Art Matters Award, and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. As part of the duo Eiko & Koma, she won numerous Besies, was the first Asian choreographer to receive the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and won the Dance Magazine Award. In addition the duo received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts/Choreography Fellowship, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and United States Artists Fellowship. Learn more at www.eikootake.org
Free and open to the public, no reservations are necessary. Please consider a donation to The Green-Wood Historic Fund so that we can continue to offer free and low-cost programs throughout the year.