by Elizabeth Zimmer
A Word from Jenneth Webster
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,
Word from Jenneth Webster
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.)
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