INTRODUCTION

Introduction by Elizabeth Zimmer
A Word from Jenneth Webster

Introduction by Elizabeth Zimmer

For more than three decades now, Yoshiko Chuma has been building unique structures in the liminal area between her native Japanese culture and her adopted American one. Using trained and pedestrian movers, virtuoso instrumentalists (whose playing she often conducts), film, video, and sculptural forms by collaborating artists, she develops unusual time-based art works that blend the live and the recorded, the flat and the three-dimensional, people and things.

Chuma’s multidisciplinary work tries to capture the contemporary world in all its complexity: speedy, multi-faceted, diverse, both conceptual and concrete. She has traveled and worked in countries around the globe, with international casts.

I have often thought that the natural instinct of young artists and audiences is to seek complex, even chaotic structures, to fill out their nascent personalities and careers with noise, clutter, and confusion. As they grow older, artists and audience seek tighter forms, calmer atmospheres, clarity, transparency, peace.

The work of Yoshiko Chuma began in wildness, in the School of Hard Knocks. As she matures, the structures grow more confident, but the impulse to embrace the universe, to include everything at once, is still present. She seems eternally young, preternaturally wise, always startling.

 

A Word from Jenneth Webster

For over 30 years, Yoshiko Chuma has been a self made citizen of the world, intensely sophisticated, vibrantly herself, passionately concerned. Over many years as a spectator and sometime commissioner of Yoshiko’s work I marvel at the dances’ forthright cinema verité look, their simultaneous multiple realities and daring physicality, and try to puzzle out the hidden agenda, the code that drives her work. (remembering her Lincoln Center Out of Doors dance about Bimini atomic bomb tests: seemingly a happy beach party, the bombs displayed as spilt blue cocktails.)

Inspired by her concern for humanity her dances for POONARC are a sea of exploring, often lost, souls intersecting in tight places. Her unique international vision, first an exploration and fusing of Japanese and U.S. aesthetic and life, grew to include residencies and collaborations with dancers, filmmakers and musicians in 35 countries The results present human differences and similarities joining and isolated side by side.

As a Citizen of the World: Yoshiko knows the best cultural diplomacy is not international one night stands, but living, working, talking, cooking, dancing and walking together —building an understanding concern through mutual creation. Her human sympathy is her hidden artistic agenda, inevitably international, helping we who watch it realize what our worlds are made of.
-- Jenneth Webster, Producer, Lincoln Center Out of Doors 1988 -2007