MoMA PS1, Long Island City

MoMA PS1 | 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46 Ave., Queens
NY 11101 Long Island City

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press release

VW Dome, MoMA PS1

NEW YORK, March 30, 2016—For the 2016 Sunday Sessions Commission, MoMA PS1 invites Tobias Madison and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy to present an artistic homage to the work of Japanese avant-garde playwright and filmmaker Shūji Terayama, active from the mid-1960s until his untimely passing in 1983.

Initiated by Lutz-Kinoy and Madison, Rotting Wood, The Dripping Word explores Terayama’s multifaceted practice. Focused less on historical accuracy, this interpretation of the play, Kegawa no Marii, 1967, embraces the spirit of collaboration and communal creativity advocated by Terayama and his Tokyo-based company Tenjou Sajiki.

In Terayama's Kegawa no Marii (”La Marie-Vison”, 1967), Marie, a middle-aged prostitute enamored of all things Western is raising an adopted son, Kinya. Kinya is kept behind locked doors, while Marie simulates the outside world for him. A cast of hired helpers and supernatural beings support her to keep the simulation going while she plays out her manipulative character.

Alongside the live performance, a small exhibition is installed in an exterior gallery in the MoMA PS1 courtyard featuring documentation of Lutz-Kinoy and Madison’s ongoing research into Terayama’s life and work. The exhibition provides the audience with a broader insight into the ephemeral nature of Terayama’s extended practice, which highlights creation as an ongoing process.

Paraphrasing Terayama, Lutz-Kinoy states, “We must discard the idea of theater as outward manifestations of a physical reality and embrace the concept of theater as aspects of inner reality.” Lutz-Kinoy goes on to say, “This elaborate and fractured laboratory we build allows modes of collaboration born from an obscured historical moment. Terayama’s practice both confirms and reminds that the inner theater has the power to propel us into temporalities both new and timeless.”

In this interpretation of Kegawa no Marii, Madison speaks to how the development of the protagonist, Marie, is integral to understanding Terayama. “Marie is not a character that has ever been written down but rather a reflection of those who embody the role and has over time mutated into the grotesque. The character is deeply rooted in the persona of its original source, Japanese actor Akihiro Miwa, who is considered the character’s origin as well as the origin of the story itself and its many protagonists. As the protagonists move between dominance and submission Terayama exposes a brutal truth: they are nothing but different aspects of the same being and so the binary bursts and gives birth to a form that their simple selves can no longer hold.”

Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator, MoMA PS1 notes, “Rotting Wood: The Dripping Word is the fourth Sunday Sessions Commission since the program's inception. For the first two years we commissioned works by Trajal Harrell (2013) and Mårten Spångberg (2014), oscillating between the realms of art and dance; followed by Anne Imhof (2015) who extended her durational performance into a gallery exhibition. This year we are looking forward to Tobias Madison and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy's formal investigation into theater as a collaborative practice."

Lutz-Kinoy and Madison are joined by Berlin-based director Ariel Efraim Ashbel and two of his regular actors, Jessica Gadani and $hubi, the Tokyo-based performance artist Cobra, New York-based performer Ezra Azrieli Holzman, New York-based musicians, Stefan Tcherepnin, Veit Laurent Kurz (Steit) and Taketo Shimada, San Antonio-based writer William Z Saunders, New York-based artist Hanna Törnudd, fashion label ECKHAUS LATTA, New York-based artist Elizabeth Orr, and a group of New York-based child actors.

Shūji Terayama (Japanese, 1935-1983) was an avant-garde playwright, poet, film and theater-maker who is widely regarded one of the most prolific and transgressive artists to emerge in post-war Japan. Throughout his life he deliberately concealed biographical facts as a nod to the blurred borders between his stories and history. In 1967, against the backdrop of student revolts in Tokyo, he, with a group of runaway school girls and boys, founded the amateur theater ensemble Tenjo Sajiki. The group took their masked plays to the streets not to provide instructions for political actions but rather to confront passersby with a form of theatrical activism that evokes everyday life and attacks individual values. Drawing from a broad variety of sources, themes and texts - among them regional spirituality, kitsch, camp, and porn - the group played with breaching taboos and psychic violence in order to investigate stereotypes and interpersonal relationships. Later the theater ensemble extended similar ideas to filmmaking and found international success with the movie Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Tomato Kechappu Kōtei). In 1983 Terayama died at the age of 47. He left behind a diverse oeuvre with almost 200 literary works and more than 20 short films and full-length movies. His plays–especially Venus in Fur–are sporadically performed at theaters around the world.

Tobias Madison was born 1985 in Basel and lives and works in Zurich and Los Angeles. Madison’s work is characteristically defined by collaborative practices while making use of a variety of techniques and materials. In his roles as creator, curator, performer and organizer he playfully re-defines traditional functional boundaries and dynamics in the artistic process. Solo presentations have been staged at venues including the Kunsthalle Zurich; Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles; The Power Station, Dallas; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; and The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Group Presentations at Le Consortium, Dijon; Fridericianum, Kassel; and the Arnolfini, Brisotl. He was also one of the founding members of the artist run space New Jerseyy in Basel (2008 - 2014). Currently a solo show, das blut, im fruchtfleisch gerinnend beim birnenbiss, is on view at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hannover, Germany.

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy born in New York in 1984 lives and works in Los Angeles. He completed the Rijksakademie International Artist Residency in Amsterdam in 2010 and received his undergraduate degree from Cooper Union in 2007. Recent exhibitions include To Satisfy The Rose, Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles (2016); Princess Pom Pom In Tyhe Villa of Falling Flowers, Mendes Wood DM (2015), Lutz-Kinoy’s Loose Bodies, Elaine Museum für Gegenwarts Kunst, Basel (2013); Matthew’s Secret, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam (2013); Werk is Free / Be Free! May Day, Outpost, Norwich (2013); and KERAMIKOS, a touring exhibition with Natsuko Uchino at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Elaine Museum für Gegenwarts Kunst, Basel and Villa Romana Florence (2012-2013). He has staged performances at the Nomas Foundation, Rome; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the New Museum, New York. His videos have been screened at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Berlinale Film Festival; and White Chapel Gallery, London.

Ariel Efraim Ashbel born 1982 in Tel Aviv makes performances. Originally a theater director, the work he has been creating since 2000 negotiates interdisciplinary proposals for stage events, located in the gap between theater, dance, music, and installation. In Israel, he worked regularly with Tmuna Theater (Tel Aviv) and Hazira Performance Center (Jerusalem) and has showed work at the Akko Festival artTLV, the Center for Contemporary Art, Levontin 7 and HaTeiva among others. From 2008-2010 he was Associate Artistic Director of the IntimaDance Festival for Contemporary Dance. Since 2011, Ashbel has been based in Germany, where he presents work regularly at HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theater (Berlin) and Kampnagel (Hamburg). Other Berlin venues include Sophiensaele, HZT, ausland, the Berlin Biennial, the Porn Film Festival, and Transmediale. His work was also presented in festivals and venues in Düsseldorf, Essen, Zurich, Frankfurt, and Munich. Ashbel is a graduate of the School of Visual Theater, Jerusalem (2006) and he holds a BA in History and Philosophy from Tel Aviv University (2010). He won the Akko Festival prize for alternative theater in 2003, annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation in (2003-2007), the Mayor of Jerusalem and the HaZira Performance Art Center prize in 2006, the Legacy Foundation scholarship in 2007, and participated in Goethe Institute and International Theater Institution’s (ITI) residency program for young theater directors in 2011.

Ezra Azrieli Holzman is 9 years old. Ezra has worked with choreographers Clarinda Mac Low and Anna Azrieli as well as toured internationally in Age & Beauty 3 with Miguel Gutierrez. Ezra starred in episode 4 of the webisode series Sez Me. Ezra also recently appeared in David Bowie's short film Blackstar.

ECKHAUS LATTA is a bicoastal fashion label designed and executed by Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. The two met while attending the Rhode Island School of Design, where they each earned a BFA. Prior to starting their own label, Eckhaus and Latta designed and worked with labels, artists and institutions including Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Matthew Barney, Opening Ceremony, The Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and threeASFOUR. Together in 2011, Mike and Zoe founded ECKHAUS LATTA.

The designers release collections bi-annually during NYFW. In addition to their shows and presentations, ECKHAUS LATTA has also exhibited projects, videos and collections with the following institutions: the 55th Venice Biennale; KraupaTuskany Zeidler Gallery, Berlin; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; The New Museum, New York; The Museum of Art and Design, New York; Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; MOCA, Los Angeles; and MoMA PS1, New York.

Stefan Tcherepnin is a composer and artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His work often employs music and performance in conjunction with sculptural elements to create installations that convey multiple narratives. He has had solo exhibitions at Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn; Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles; New Jerseyy, Basel. Collaborative exhibitions at What Pipeline, Detroit; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire; The Power Station, Dallas. Group exhibitions at Kunsthaus Glarus; Kunsthalle Bern; Francesca Pia, Zurich; Soloway, Brooklyn; Greene Naftali, New York. Tcherepnin composed the soundtrack to United Brothers’ ongoing Android film saga, as well as Ei Arakawa’s How To Disappear In America: The Musical (2016) and Paris And Wizard: The Musical (2013). In 2012, he participated in Supreme Connections, a series of performances and workshops dedicated to research and interpretation of the works of Maryanne Amacher, held in Berlin and London. He performed Amacher’s Petra for two pianos with Marianne Schroeder at the Hamburger Bahnhof.

Steit is a music duo formed by Tcherepnin and Veit Laurent Kurz, which can be best described as paranormal, hyper-rational improvised fusion. Steit has recently performed in Mexico City, Glarus, Switzerland, and New York.

William Z. Saunders was born in 1978, in Weatherford, TX. He is a writer, drummer, performer, and therapist currently living in San Antonio. His most recent work is a series of short memoirs called Bad Jobs, published by Monofonus Press.

COBRA born Japan, 1981 is an artist who lives and works in Tokyo. Founder of Tokyo-based XYZcollective. Recent exhibitions include Watching Things Burn, Springsteen, Baltimore (2015); Occasional Furniture, The Apartment Vancouver (2015); TRANSLATION THEME PARK, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Malmö (2015); I’m sorry Please talk more slowly, Hikarie 8/, Tokyo (2015); comedie concrète, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2015); XYZcollective - Man & Play, Brennan & Griffin, New York (2014); The Saturday Object Theater, The Green Gallery, Milwaukee (2015).

$hubi born 1974 in Berlin is a performer, actor, DJ, karaoke-addict and mud-wrestler. He performed and collaborated with various artists and institutions including Sophiensaele, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Ballhaus Ost, Dock 11, Maxim-Gorki-Studio, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Dietheater Wien, Bregenzer Frühling, Adam-Mickewicz-Institut, Levontin 7, andcompany&co., Peaches, Hans-Werner Krösinger, Ulf Otto, Santiago Blaum, Lubricat, Bruno Cathomas, Aktionstheater Ensemble Wien, Showcase Beat Le Mot, Nir DeVolff and many others. He’s been in films Totale Therapie, Hysteria, I’d Like To Die a 1000 Times, Apokalypse I + II and Viva Europa. Since 2011 he’s worked regularly with Ariel Efraim Ashbel.

Jessica Gadani is a singer/performer from Upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in classical voice performance from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and for the past seven years has been living and working as a freelance singer and performer in Berlin. Gadani has been performing regularly in German speaking independent theaters such as the HAU, Sophiensaele, Kampnagel Hamburg, FFT Dusseldorf, and Gessnerallee Zurich, with Berlin-based artists such as Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Santiago Blaum, Johannes Müller and Andreas Liebmann. In 2010 she and fellow performer/host Jack Woodhead created a monthly cabaret evening called Fish and Whips, where one can occasionally still find her singing, dressing up, prancing about.

Hanna Törnudd is a Brooklyn-based artist. She created costumes for Sergei Tcherepnin's Kitchen performance, Maize Mantis (2015). Her Metaphysical Letter Scarves were recently presented at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles. As a performer, Hanna has worked with Grand Openings (MoMA, 2011) and Ei Arakawa (Reitveld Acadamie, 2013).

Charlotte Beede is a 7th grader in public school on Manhattan's Upper West Side. She recently appeared in the Gob Squad's production of Before Your Very Eyes at the Public Theater. Off Broadway: Sonnet Repertory Theatre's Midsummer Night's Dream (Moth). French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts: The Lion King (Zazu), Flat Stanley (Sneak Thief), Mulan (Grandma Fa), The Aristocats (Toulouse). Re-Create Arts and Athletics: Beauty and the Beast (Chip), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mike Teevee).

Miles Sherr-Garcia attends Tompkins Square Middle School. He recently had his off Broadway debut in the Gob Squad's, before Your Very Eyes. He acted in three seasons at Brooklyn Children's Theater in Let’s Play Ball (Bernie), Vague Magazine (Bodyguard #1), and Quetzal Never Dies, all by Chris Heller and Evan Davis. He has also appeared in Rags, 1776, and Old William, produced by P.S. 321 in Brooklyn. He wants to win a Tony for Best Actor.

Bette Sherr-Garcia attends PS321 in Brooklyn and is excited to perform with her brother and the butterflies!


Sunday Sessions is a weekly presentation of performance, moving images, music, dance, and discursive programs. Its mission is to embrace live arts as an integral aspect of contemporary practice and ask how these different art forms produce specific ways of thinking and useful means to engage with the world. Every Sunday different artists, curators, thinkers and other cultural agents are invited to share their latest projects and ideas with the MoMA PS1 audience.

Rotting Wood, the Dripping Word: Shūji Terayama’s "Kegawa no Marii” is presented at MoMA PS1 with Special Thanks to Pro Helvetia.

Sunday Sessions is organized by Jenny Schlenzka; Alex Sloane, Curatorial Assistant; Taja Cheek, Curatorial Assistant; Rosey Selig-Addiss, Associate Producer and Lucy Lie, Production Assistant.

Sunday Sessions and the VW Dome at MoMA PS1 are made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America