Akira Shimizu - Designs for Butoh



In 1968, Shimizu made the acquaintance of Tatsumi Hijikata, which was an important event in his life. In this year, Hijikata requested Shimizu to design a poster for Tomiko Takaifs Butoh dance performance in which he also danced. Butoh, created by Hijikata, is a dance which liberates the humanfs soul. According to Hijikata, Butoh urges us to recall the memory of when we were a fetus, and even after we die and go to the next world, it helps us to recall the memory.

Hijikata was also a person that awoke one of Shimizufs mysterious memories from his boyhood. One day during WW II, he was walking in a heavy snowstorm. He said that after having a premoniton of his death, he could not move forward any more. Suddenly, a man in a black mantle showed up and lifted young Shimizu into his arms. Shimizu says he felt as if Hijikata was the same person who helped him in that storm.

The poster for House of Mandara performance depicts a trout which captures thunder and lightning in the sky. (Mandara is a concentric diagram having spiritual and ritual significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism.) The thunder can be interpreted as Hijikata, and the trout as Shimizu.

In the composition, the trout seemingly fights against thunder and lightening. It also appears he wants to unite with them, and wants his soul to be elevated to a higher form.

Shimizu once said "when I watched his dance, I felt as if the nape of my neck was captured, and taken to the other world, or to the land of the dead." He also said "there is a true nature in Hijikatafs performance". A nature that shows its true appearance when one enters in it deeply could sometimes be a rapier which sharpens Shimizufs mind. He tries to approach the very limited boundary between this world and the other world and of nature and humanity as well.


Costume for Tomiko Takai' s Butoh performance - Girl

1968
Kimono, Stones
137.0(H) (cm)


Poster for House of Mandara

1968
Paper, Print
102.5(H) x 72.0(W) (cm)


Objet for Butoh performance - Moon Rain

1980'
Japanese Umbrella, Geta(Japanese clogs)
109.0(H) (cm)


Sketch for Poster for Tomiko Takai' s Butoh performance "Dew of Wild Flower" - Mad Flower

1990
Copy, Handcolor, Tracingpaper
83.8(H) x 59.4(W) (cm)


Sketch for Poster for Tomiko Takai' s Butoh performance "Dew of Wild Flower" - Spring Scene

1990
Copy, Handcolor, Tracingpaper
83.8(H) x 59.4(W) (cm)


Sketch for Poster for Tomiko Takai' s Butoh performance "Dew of Wild Flower" - Pig Umbrella

1990
Copy, Handcolor, Tracingpaper
83.8(H) x 59.4(W) (cm)


Sketch for Poster for Tomiko Takai' s Butoh performance "Dew of Wild Flower" - Flying Nest

1990
Copy, Handcolor, Tracingpaper
83.8(H) x 59.4(W) (cm)


© 2010 Akira Shimizu. All rights reserved