Kikuko’s Tragic Bambi

Posted in Arario New York by arariogallery on August 5, 2010

This is NOT a Disney kind of performance.

Kikuko Tanaka performed Tragic Bambi: A Mother’s Tears, Thursday night at Arario Gallery. It was: confusing, amazing, beautiful, tragic, fierce, lovely, bacchanilian, illusory, mesmerizing, grotesque, liquid, sorrowful, desirable, and crazy. Too many adjectives? Well, you just had to be there. Post-performance was as exciting, but I believe that is another story for another time.

I cannot say I am able to fully explain what happened within the performance, or even verbalize my impression. If I had to describe Kikuko’s performance in a word, I would choose: dream. The performance displayed all the elements of a different place, deep within the mind of an individual only to be visualized for the pleasure of the artist to share with an audience. Shall I briefly lay out the scenes for you? First, the characters: Kikuko Tanaka as Mother/Artist, Akiko Ichikawa as Gallerist/Writer, Masaki Hori as Tragic Photographer, Hiroshi Shafer as Rabbit, and Stuart Stelzer as Officer.

The Artist/Mother proceeded to glue pearls onto the head of a decapitated Bambi. Two chickens clucked around, somewhat in fear of their surroundings. The Bacchanilian-like Rabbit served shots of sake to the audience and the Officer patrolled the area. The Gallerist/Writer continuously typed and printed unfinished prose and poetry while the Tragic Photographer documented the whole installation/performance with his overexposed camera.

Feeling like you’re in a dream state yet?

This was a last bang of a performance just before Arario closes shop on the Irrelevant show. Recognize anyone in the crowd? If you look closely, notice the unexpected guest, Judith from Bravo’s Work of Art reality show. It was an interesting night; interesting being a primitive adjective to describe the evening. Artists, enthusiasts, and novices came out to support and feed their curiosity as Kikuko advertised a surprise ending. It was a bit of a shocking ending for this hour long presentation. The knocking of a crystal (plexi) palace, touching of artwork, and nudity all inclusive of a shocked audience. What does it all mean?

For this viewer, put simply, it is a gateway into someone else’s dream, thoughts, vision. It leaves you feeling multiple things and in great wonder. Is there real satisfaction in the possibility of reenacting the role of a blue-collared Japanese mother? Can one be at peace reciting prose, reading poetry, and conveying paraphilia/necrophilia? This particular view does not know, with question marks buzzing around questions. I have no choice but to leave somewhat dazed and confused, only knowing that this was the only way to end the 5 week exhibition of Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian.

Cheers and props to all 52 participating artists. Chelsea and neighbors in NYC, consider yourselves lucky to have witnessed such an Irrelevant show by curators Joann Kim & Lesley Sheng.



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