CEPA Gallery is pleased to announce an immersive performance of The Blue, premiering at Big Orbit Project Space on Saturday, April 27.
In collaboration with Melanie Aceto Contemporary Dance, performance artist Hanae Utamura will offer a meditation on Niagara Falls, narrated through the lens of the ancient Japanese Shinto religion and the Japanese postwar consciousness. Drawing on Niagara’s long history—as an object to be conquered by daredevils, a source of hydroelectric power, and a dumping ground for toxic waste—the performance will examine the constant renegotiation between humans and the environment.
The performance will explore the human will to conquer and extract energies from nature for scientific development, the paradoxical longing to become one with nature, and the ongoing renegotiation of this dialog within new social bodies after nuclear fallout. Through sound, choreographed dance, video, sculpture, and text, the past, present, and future will collide. Light will act as a primary motif, holding both sacred and toxic qualities. The performance will approach light from many angles, considering both its divine nature in the Shinto religion and the phenomenon of Cherenkov radiation, which causes the distinctive blue glow of an underwater nuclear reactor. In the Tokaimura nuclear accident in Japan in 1999, a victim recalled that he “saw the color of blue light” at the moment when the Cherenkov radiation reached his retina. Looking to Niagara Falls, the blue water and the sky, the connections begin to merge. This blue light becomes both the human and scientific will that permeates all of history—the moment of transcendence, the blue.
HANAE UTAMURA is a Japanese performance and visual artist. She contemplates the relationship between humans and nature, focusing on how we imagine, experience, and affect the natural world through scientific development. The negotiation between nature and civilization, and how the will of life manifests itself in its processes has been the central focus of her practice. Hanae works in video, immersive performance, installation, and sculpture. She has recently won the Shiseido Art Egg Award in Tokyo for her solo exhibition ‘Holiday at War’, and has received numerous other grants and awards, including the Pola Art Foundation Grant, UNESCO Aschberg Bursary Award, and Axis/Florence Trust Award.
She is currently the recipient of an overseas research grant for upcoming artists from the Japanese Ministry of Culture, and is a visiting scholar at New York University. She has exhibited at Aichi Triennale (Japan), NEST (Den Haag), National Art Studio Changdong, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea (Seoul), Daegu Art Factory (Daegu, South Korea), Shiseido Art Gallery (Tokyo), and has participated in numerous international residencies and had solo exhibitions at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgard, Germany), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), PACT Zollverein (Essen, Germany), and Art Omi (Hudson, U.S.). She received her BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London and her MA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.
MELANIE ACETO CONTEMPORARY DANCE is a modern dance company based in upstate New York exploring both lush and comedic work. Melanie’s work offers viewers a new perspective or insight on a particular concept. Her desire is to inspire, to inform and to challenge audiences to perceive more fully. Melanie Aceto is a dancer, choreographer, educator and researcher whose creative interests are in interdisciplinary solo and large group works. Melanie’s choreography has been performed internationally in Toronto, Guatemala, and Germany, nationally at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and at venues in Philadelphia, North Carolina, Atlanta, Virginia, and Kentucky, in New York City at The Kitchen, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Duplex Cabaret and John Ryan Theater, among others, and in Buffalo, NY at venues including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Arts Center. She regularly collaborates with composers, designers, and poets, presenting work in non-dance venues. Current research projects include Choreographic Lineage, a web-based resource presenting the lineage of dance artists: choreographiclineage Earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Melanie is currently an Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo.