For these special artist’s pages we have a preview of Helena and Miwako, a collaboration between Japanese-American artist Ei Arakawa (b. 1977, Fukushima, Japan, lives and works in New York) and German artist Henning Bohl (b. 1975, Oldenburg, now lives and works in Berlin and Hamburg). The work was made for the latest Carnegie International, a much-anticipated curatorial collaboration between Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski. The film and associated performances will debut in Pittsburgh this October.
Ei Arakawa stages performance-related work, often using makeshift sets, informal gatherings and unconventional gestures that refuse to be limited by art’s normal boundaries. As critic Anthony Huberman put it in Mousse: “The space of his performances contains everything from the privacy of the brainstorming to the messiness of the demolition.” He also revisits the experimental art that has come before him, not least that of the postwar avant-gardes within and beyond Japan, such as Gutai. Henning Bohl is known for large-scale abstract paintings that take on sculptural qualities through collage or the use of unconventional supports, which lend his works the character of performative exhibition environments; he “uses the gallery as a multilayered storytelling device” to question methods of artistic production and exhibition. Bohl draws inspiration from a variety of artistic practices and art historical movements, particularly the Japanese dance-drama known as Kabuki. §
Helena and Miwako (2013). Courtesy of the artists: Ei Arakawa/Henning Bohl