Sunday November 19, 6-9pm
Takahiko and Akiko Iimura’s Farewell Party

Taka and Akiko Iimura_s
From “I Love You”, 1973, single-channel video, 5 minutes – Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope invites you to a Farewell Party at the gallery this Sunday November 19, 6-9pm for Takahiko and Akiko Iimura, who will be returning to Japan this month after residing in New York since the 1960s.

The gallery has been working with Takahiko, a pioneering Japanese film and video artist, since its inaugural exhibition in September of 2010. We were also very fortunate to have been able to present a solo night of rare 16mm films by Akiko Iimura several years ago as part of the gallery’s event series.

Besides artists we work with, we consider Taka and Akiko not only our friends, but part of a family of artists that oceans cannot possibly separate.

Films and videos will be projected throughout the event.

“Although Taka was an active part of the New York avant-garde scene, he always remained an enigmatic, mysterious presence, pursuing his own unique route through the very center of the avant-garde cinema. While the intensity and the fire of the American avant-garde film movement inspired him and attracted him, his Japanese origins contributed decisively to his uncompromising explorations of cinema’s minimalist and conceptualist possibilities. He has explored this direction of cinema in greater depth than anyone else” – Jonas Mekas

I was not that conscious about “being born in Japan” so “decisively”. I think it is the result of my own choices, but I do feel that I have “explored the possibilities without compromising”. When it seems to me that I have carried out this exploration sufficiently, I am aware of having changed my choice (the style of the work). However, this is not because I have lost interest in a certain possibility, and I want to continue exploring it some other time in a different way. Just as my interest in imagism in the sixties appeared in a different form in my landscape videos of the eighties, my conceptualism of the seventies may reappear in a different form in the nineties. However, whether Tokyo will be an appropriate place to present this work is still an unknown. I think that even here I must make my work for an international audience. But can I be an “enigmatic, mysterious figure” in Tokyo? – Takahiko Iimura

Takahiko Iimura, born in Tokyo in 1937, is a pioneering artist known for his work with  film, video, installation, performance, and digital technologies spanning more than 50 years. Iimura first began working with film in 1960 and was instrumental in the burgeoning Japanese experimental and independent film scene. Iimura moved to the US on a Fellowship from Harvard University in 1966 and soon immersed himself in the mid-60s New York experimental film and art community. Early videos were included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art of New York and PS1 (1975), and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France (1977), while other performance based works and interactive installations were featured in the 1979 two-person exhibition “New Video” (with Shigeko Kubota) at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Among the institutions that have exhibited Iimura’s works are Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY; Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, NY; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Kitchen, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Pacific Film Archive, Berkley, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MI; Carnegie Art Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Jeu de Paume, Paris, France; Tate Modern, London, UK; Serpentine Galleries, London, UK; among others. Iimura’s work is in the Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy;  Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others. Upcoming exhibitions include: “Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995” at MIT List Gallery, Cambridge, MA opening in February 2018.

Akiko Iimura was born in Tokyo, Japan and has lived in New York since the mid-60s. She appeared in several early films of her husband Takahiko Iimura and in the 1970s and 1980s made two 16mm films herself featuring original soundtracks by Belgium composer Jacques Bekaert. She has also been an editor, writer and sometimes photographer for various Japanese publications for many years. She was also the translator for the Japanese editions of  “Movie Journal” and “I Had Nowhere to Go” by Jonas Mekas. In recent years, Akiko Iimura has been an essayist for the Japanese community paper in New York.


With the underwriting support of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation

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