Eiko and Koma at Baryshnikov

Naked: A Gallery View from Eiko and Koma on Vimeo.

Last Wednesday night took Culturebot to the Baryshnikov Arts Center for the opening of Eiko and Koma‘s performance installation Naked which is part of their multi-year retrospective project.

Roslyn Sulcas has already given the show a rave review in the Times and I’m not sure what I can add to that.

I did a studio visit with Eiko and Koma not too long ago – they’ve been in residence at the Park Avenue Armory for about a year and will soon be in residence at LMCC’s studio space at 156 William St. It was a pleasure to meet them. They’re lovely people – animated, energetic, imaginative and inquisitive. As a couple they seem to share that ESP of the intimately linked, finishing each other’s sentences, moving in harmony.

As animated as they are offstage, they are concentrated, focused and precise when in the installation. Enclosed in the installation the audience is invited into an intimate relationship with their bodies and imaginations. It is a special experience of stillness and interiority, shared with others. The sounds of water dripping, the hum of the ventilation system, the glacial movement of these stark white bodies in a sea of feathers and sand, call combine to bring us into sacred space. I only stayed for about 45 minutes but I left feeling more calm and serene then when I went in. Being the presence of the artists, in this constructed hand-hewn environment, is something akin to prayer. It is poetic and transporting.

Naked was originally commissioned and presented by the Walker in Minneapolis where it was shown in a gallery alongside the works of Rauschenberg and Warhol. In a way I think of the work as a living, breathing painting or sculpture that evolves over time – we are there, aware of the fragility of bodies through time; of breath, aging, ephemerality, loss and wonder.

I am going to try and go back to experience it again.

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