晴天の霹靂 (Seiten no heki-reki) Literally means: Thunderclap from a clear sky. The meaning of this Japanese saying is A bolt from the blue. / A complete surprise. And that is exactly what we experienced this weekend, when visiting artist Aya Iida performed an interpretive dance within an art installation. The surprise bolt came from Japan and exploded through the down feathers and into the rubber inner tubes of Gregory Coates’ “STAGE” at Soft Machine Gallery.
Dressed in a Harajukuesque nautical ensemble, Iida came bounding through the feathers, hurling herself to the quirky beats of a modern soundtrack that fused elements of new age, hip hop, tribal beats and house music.
With one crash of a beat she threw herself through the dangling rubber tubes and smashed down against the wall like a rag doll. She pop-locked thru an urban beat, managing to fuse her moves into sudden jerky fits in sync with a now frenetic rhythm; her moves instantly translated into those of a bird.
The bird peered curiously through the inner-tube jungle, and a row of young girls in the front watched intently as she slowly stalked forward towards them. The music was slower and Iida was now staring just a couple feet away from the girls, from her downy nest. There was giggling…then with a tilt of the head, playful communication ensued. Friends coached the middle girl to turn and move and Iida’s mirroring gestures inspired more giggles.
The music changed and she danced off to a corner and opened a box-cutter, contemplating Coates’ recycled inner tube sculpture; then, carefully chose some pieces that needed slicing. Iida’s performance and her aggressive presence gave this installation brand new dimensions. “Lollipop: Gutai Influences,” or Wham Bam philosophy seeks to open a dialog between the material’s and the artist’s spirit while attempting to transform one material into something new. Iida’s dance went a step further: her dance transcended all cultural and language boundaries.”STAGE” and visiting Osakan artists’ visit was made possible through FUSE art infrastructure in Allentown. Its programming creates an infrastructure for the arts that embrace, direct and present ideas bridging community, artists and institutions. Thank you to the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Kiki Nienaber, Director FUSE art infrastructure for bringing world-class art experiences to the Lehigh Valley! The next great destination for artists and supporters of the arts.
UPDATE: Gutai goodness continued at the Guggenheim.