Photo: Hanae Utamura in London

Hanae Utamura


Wearing black, dissolving myself in black footage and pinning myself down to earth as an icon of human activity by erasing my character, I've made a 'Secret Performance Series' of works (ongoing — 2009 - 2012) exploring and redefining ideas of contemporary myth. These video and photography based performance works record the artist doing various actions in different places on earth, secretly making seemingly impossible acts possible. The performances often take place in 'edge territories' where human physical capacity meets its limits next to the force of wild nature, such as a cliff's edge, desert, deep snow, shoreline beach, atop an iced lake and into tsunami - stricken areas in Japan in 2011. When life is risked for inconsistent action, that action gains powerful affect despite futility in its content. Contemporary myths are events that happened somewhere sometime with camera the only confirmed witness. All 'Secret Performance Series' videos are short, single angle shots with looped playback. Beginnings and endings of actions are cut and filled with black footage, suggesting to be filled by viewer imagination. Staged performance and actual action in documentary film makes no difference for camera. After author's death, fiction and documentary starts to dissolve. The truths of how it happened and why are left to unfold only through secondary communication. In this sense, I am both alive and dead as an artist in my work. I have been using plaster as a primal medium apart from video and photography. Historically, plaster is a medium used to cast the moment of myth. Its quick cure has an ability to preserve the shape of form in the moment of immediacy when action takes place. Visually akin to the bone, the matter which reveals the state of being of the dead, plaster?s fragility returns it to the elements as in the cycle of life. Taken place in objects, places, events in history, my performance based practice aims to open the new scope of alternative possible worlds. read full statement

Location London
Artforms / type of project Installation, Intervention, Performance, Photography, Sculpture