Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The films of Hiroshi Teshigahara

I'm currently working on a zine for an upcoming exhibit + zine release at BOOKMACHINE books + zines called "Our Eyes, Spinning Like Propellers: a Year of Films at Hibbleton Gallery," which is curated by my friend, filmmaker Steve Elkins.  For the past year, we have been screening art films every week that Steve selects.  The zine will be a kind of retrospective of the 50 plus films we've watched together.  As I'm working on it, I thought I'd share with you some of the films, plus Steve's descriptions of them.  In July, we watched two films by Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara

"Woman In The Dunes" (1964):  An amateur entomologist leaves Tokyo to study an unclassified species of beetle that resides in a remote, vast desert and discovers something far more mysterious: a young woman living in a hut at the bottom of a sand dune that, without daily shoveling, constantly threatens to bury her. This highly original and surreal vision from Japanese flower arranger Hiroshi Teshigahara set Japan center stage in the intellectual discourse of a world seeking answers to questions about identity, human existence, and what this thing we call "society" is that we sacrifice ourselves for. Score by Manchurian composer Toru Takemitsu.

"Antoni Gaudi" (1984):  Gaudi designed buildings in Catalonia based on his close observations of growth and metamorphosis in nature, especially plants, trees, grottoes, fountains, and the sea. His devotion to translating the language of nature into architectural forms was shared by Hiroshi Teshigahara, whose father Sofu was considered a master of the Japanese art of ikebana flower arranging and avant-garde sculpture. After a string of films that took cinema into stunning new aesthetic territory (including "Woman In The Dunes"), Hiroshi abandoned filmmaking for almost two decades to take over his father's school, but returned to make this visual poem of Gaudi's architecture, the magic of which "worked beyond the borders of various arts" and made him realize that "the lines between the arts are insignificant."

The opening reception for this art show + zine release + video installation is Friday, June 6th, 2014 from 6-10pm, during the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk.

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