Public Programming Series | Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s

April 6 – May 4, 2019


Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s
Curated by Mika Yoshitake
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

Part I: February 14-March 23, 2019
Part II: April 6-May 19, 2019



Live performances co-presented with Black Editions
Hosted with Zebulon and Japan House 

Saturday, April 6
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

EYE will present a special performance using a laptop, contact mic, and light sensors. This will be related to his DJ style where he compiles simulated recordings (i.e. rocks falling in gorges) and music from a variety of genres (dub, tribal, ambient, hip hop, reggae, etc.) into kinesthetic experience. His album artwork for the Boredoms and more recent drawings and collages will also be featured in the exhibition. 

EYE is best known as the founder and leader of acid punk band and shape-shifting ensemble, the Boredoms. The band's music is usually referred to as noise rock or sometimes Japanoise, though their more recent records have been largely based around repetitive minimalism, ambient music, and tribal drumming. Recent "Boadrum" compositions feature dynamic arrangements which range between (but are never limited to) 77 or 88 drummers and percussionists. As well as his music, EYE is famous for his mixed-media style of art that utilizes airbrush, marker pen, and collage, amongst other materials. This work has adorned a number of records, including the majority of Boredoms releases and, perhaps more famously, Beck's Midnite Vultures. Similar to the Boredoms' musical direction, EYE started incorporating a much more psychedelic, calmer approach into his work, evident on the covers of many of the later Boredoms albums. Drawing as much from Japanese mythology as it does from his musical influence, such as early punk imagery, his work aims to complement the music as well as to provide another dimension to the sound. 

Free and open to the public.


Sunday, April 7, 2-4pm
Japan House, Los Angeles 

Artists Kenjiro Okazaki, Yukinori Yanagi and Kenji Yanobe and curator Mika Yoshitake will present their work and discuss overlapping themes of Japanese contemporary art in the era of the 1980s and 1990s. Each artist represents a distinct  aspect of the era. As an intellectual and artist, Okazaki's practice engages with theories of perception through interdisciplinary genres spanning architecture, literary theory, painting, reliefs, sculpture, robotics, and dance. Trained in both Japan and the U.S., Yanagi's large-scale and site-specific installations interrogate the politics of institutional borders and boundaries often drawing from systems of signs and symbolic imagery. And finally, Yanobe's darkly humorous, sci-fi installations and sculptures are part of a retro-futurist narrative that engages with nuclear crisis.


Sunday, April 7, 8pm
Zebulon, Los Angeles 

Keiji Haino is one of the key figures to emerge from the world of Japanese underground and avant-garde music in the last 50 years. Over his lifetime, Haino has created an unparalleled body of work that includes hundreds of recorded releases and innumerable performances around the world. Haino first gained notoriety during the era of Japanese radicalism and counterculture. In 1971 he performed with his group Lost Aaraaff at the historic Genyasai Music Festival, held in opposition to the seizure of farmlands for the construction of Narita Airport. His haunting debut album "Watashi Dake?" was released in 1981 and marked a watershed moment in Japanese underground music, Haino declaring it a "Mutation of Hard Rock." His later releases with the P.S.F. label helped bring his music to the wider world stage.  

Through his solo work, his numerous collaborations and perhaps most notably his group Fushitsusha, Haino is renowned for his intensely personal, cathartic musical language. His work remains unmistakable even as he has explored a wide range of musical approaches including rock, vocal, free jazz, free improvisation, percussion, psychedelia, minimalism, folk and live DJ mixing. He has cited a broad range of influences, including troubadour music, Iannis Xenakis, Blue Cheer, Syd Barrett, Charlie Parker and Albert Ayler. Accordingly, he has collaborated with musicians including Faust, Boris, Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, Lee Konitz, Loren Connors, Bill Laswell, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, EYE, Fred Frith, and Charles Hayward. 

While his primary instruments have been voice and guitar, Haino's dedication to the hurdy-gurdy has yielded some of the most unique and enchanting music of his career. A rare medieval instrument, it features a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against strings to create rich layers of drone harmonics. His performance at Zebulon on April 7th promises to be historic as it will only be his second ever U.S. hurdy-gurdy performance, the first in over 20 years. 

Purchase tickets here


Saturday, May 4, 2-4pm
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles 

Otomo Yoshihide and David Novak will discuss noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, which first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. 

Otomo Yoshihide was a pioneering figure in the Electroacoustic Improvisation scene, and today is a musician and producer -- a cross-genre music maker actively performing free improvisation, noise, and pop, simultaneously and independently on a global scale. As a film composer, he has produced over 100 pieces of music for visual, film, and television works. In recent years, he has been making musical pieces and organizing a unique style of concert, mainly in collaboration with various artists and non-musicians under the name of "Ensembles." Additionally, he has been committed to music workshops and participatory projects with challenged children. He also extends his endeavors beyond the borders of music, including "Project FUKUSHIMA!," which started after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Otomo was artistic directer of Sapporo International Art Festival 2017 and Ensembles Asia for the Asian Music Network. 

David Novak is Associate Professor of Music at University of California, Santa Barbara in the Ethnomusicology Department, and is Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music. His book Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press Books, 2013) won the British Forum for Ethnomusicology Book Prize. 

Free and open to the public. 


Saturday, May 4, 8pm
Zebulon, Los Angeles 

Otomo Yoshihide will conduct a performance with his electric guitar and turntables.  

SAICOBAB will perform a live concert as a trio featuring YoshimiO's animated vocals in symbiosis with sitar and percussions. 

SAICOBAB is the Japanese band of vocalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO), with Yoshida Daikiti on sitar, and Motoyuki "Hama" Hamamoto on percussion, gamelan. SAICOBAB masterfully blends traditional Indian music with melodies and unexpected rhythms using unorthodox instrumentation to create utterly distinct modern ragas. SAICO means "the most ancient," and "BAB" stands for "baby" in Japanese. SAB SE PURANI means "the most ancient baby girl" in Hindi. The work reflects the deep connections made musically between traditional Indian and Japanese music and spiritual practices, rhythmically, numerically, and mathematically. SAICOBAB's deep understanding of traditions enables them to transform ancient cultural practices into contemporary creative expressions. 

Purchase tickets here 


More information on our program partners:Black Editions here. Japan House here. Zebulon here.

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