Magazine article Artforum International

Chu Enoki: Kirin Plaza Osaka

Magazine article Artforum International

Chu Enoki: Kirin Plaza Osaka

Article excerpt

Documenting his public performances and site-specific sculpture since 1970, through photography, video, and drawings, this first retrospective of the sixty-two-year-old avant-garde artist Chu Enoki conveyed the intensity of an independent artistic commitment sustained by efforts to invent new ways of perception, suggesting Enoki's significance as an important precursor for artists who emerged in the '90s.

Enoki's first public performance, Naked Happening, 1970, demonstrates an inadvertent affinity with the Situationist International. Enoki walked in the middle of a Ginza street on a Sunday, shirtless, with the Expo '70 logo sunburned onto his bare chest--a protest against the seductive "spectacle" of Expo' 70, the landmark world fair that trumpeted Japan's postwar economic recovery, and against the public policy of the Pedestrian's Paradise that kept congested city streets "open to pedestrians" only on Sundays for limited hours. In Everyday Life Multi, 1977, Enoki converted his private house into a public space where anyone could come and see his work. Shaving Half of My Hair, 1977-81, a work based on the simple idea of going about his everyday routine for four years with one side of his head and body entirely shaved, provoked his conservative neighbors in Kobe to behave differently toward him in public for at least as many years. Bar Rose Chu, 1979, was a two-day engagement in which Enoki opened a bar inside a gallery and served as its mustached hostess in drag; here, alongside The Return of Bar Rose Chu, 2006, he showed an untitled video, 1979-2006, depicting the birth of his female alter ego. Enoki's radically funny but existential public interventions immediately involved the audience, inciting an engagement with the contingencies of the everyday.

During the '80s, Enoki produced large-scale, site-specific sculptures, addressing the problems of the postindustrial age. …

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