The Eiko Otake Collection

This page serves as a guide to Eiko Otake’s solo body of work. 

Eiko Otake by Wm Johnston


About The Eiko Otake Collection

Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist. After working for more than forty years as Eiko & Koma, she now performs as a soloist and directs her own projects, collaborating with a diverse range of artists.

By its nature, Eiko’s solo work defies categorization. She has expanded the reach of her choreography and artistic practices to include photography and installation at a greater scale and to perform more often in non-traditional spaces, such as train stations, streets, churches, and cemeteries. Her works, especially those from the project A Body in Places, often investigate themes of death and dying, history, and the persistence of collective memory. Eiko has also broadened her collaborative practice to create interdisciplinary work with artists from different backgrounds and disciplines, both alive and deceased. The outcomes of these creative encounters, which are never final, often result in various forms of presentation including music, performance, video, installation, and more.  

Much like Eiko’s solo and collaborative practices, the distinctions between the works are fluid and the lines connecting them are transformative. Performance recordings may be revisited, re-edited and transfigured into new artworks. The performance “space” may shift from in-person and physically intimate, to virtual or secluded. Acknowledging these intersections and subsequent permutations, the sub-collection headings identify the ongoing solo and collaborative projects in Eiko’s body of work.  

Visit the Eiko & Koma Collection page for information about Eiko & Koma’s collaborative works. 


Eiko & Koma Sub-collections

A Body in Places

A Body in Places is the omnibus title of Eiko’s first solo project. Its scale and modes of presentation vary radically and incorporate both performative and non-performative elements, including photo exhibitions, video installations, and film screenings from her A Body in Fukushima project. Central to the project is a drive to explore non-traditional venues and to respond to the innate characteristics of each place. Performing as a soloist, Eiko uses her body as a conduit for connection and willfully partners with the particularities of places and viewers, daring at times to present herself as a nuisance. Begun in 2014, A Body in Places has been presented at over 70 sites and the project has produced many exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances, as well as a publication of a photography book of the same title that includes artists’ essays.

Duet Project: Distance is Malleable

The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable is a mutable and evolving series of experiments in collaboration. Negotiating differences of race, time, culture, ethnicity, religion and gender, the artists seek to maximize the potentials of their encounters. Eiko deeply acknowledges Sam Miller for his help in conceiving this project.

Media Work

The video works in this sub-collection are either stand-alone pieces – such as Night With Moths and Deer Island – or they are parts of performances and performance documentation that Eiko and her collaborators have transformed into new pieces. Titles in the latter group include works such as Attending, for which a new work was created from the original footage of the premiere performance for The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable at 2019 American Dance Festival. Attending was edited during Eiko’s 2020 Virtual Creative Residency hosted by Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts.