New Releases: Eiko Otake and Eiko & Koma

New Releases: Eiko Otake and Eiko & Koma

VDB is pleased to welcome Eiko Otake and Takashi Koma Otake (known professionally as Eiko & Koma) to the collection! In addition to welcoming the works of Eiko & Koma, VDB has also acquired Eiko’s body of works from her solo career. After working for more than 40 years as Eiko & Koma, Eiko now performs as a soloist and directs her own projects, collaborating with a diverse range of artists. Over the past year and a half, VDB collaborated closely with Eiko and her studio to organize, process, and prepare these collections for acquisition and distribution. We are happy to announce that twenty-eight works by Eiko & Koma and thirty-eight works by Eiko Otake are available for distribution, with more titles to be released in the future. Visit the Eiko & Koma Collection and the Eiko Otake Collection pages to learn more.

Working as an artistic duo, Eiko & Koma have created a remarkable body of performance and dance work that spans more than four decades. Eiko and Koma have presented their works on stages, in gallery settings, exclusively for camera, and as site-specific works. Their work is often characterized by gradual movements of the body, emphasizing stillness and slowness. The works often investigate themes of death and dying, history, and the persistence of physical and collective memory. Eiko & Koma often incorporate elements of the natural world into their gallery and theater performances, and they have collaborated with other artists on multi-disciplinary pieces.

As we welcome the Eiko & Koma and Eiko Otake collections to Video Data Bank, we are thrilled to present a three-month series of VDB TV programs that highlight representative works in these collections! 

This month, VDB is showcasing short works and performance excerpts from the Eiko & Koma collection. While studying with notable performance artists across Japan and Europe in their early careers, the duo developed their own form of deliberate and measured movement, evoking primitive emotions like grief and longing. The 1976 debut of White Dance in the United States was the result of the artists’ first period of movement research, conveying an independence from the artists’ butoh training. In the 1980s, Eiko & Koma further expanded their physical vocabulary, using high contrast light and camera perspective to capture subtle movements in Wallow and Undertow. In 2007, Eiko & Koma collaborated for the first time with pianist Margaret Leng Tan for the performance Mourning, an expression of grief for man’s cruelty. All three collaborators are first-generation Asian Americans. Additionally, the Eiko & Koma collection includes several documentary pieces that depict the artists’ creation processes, including The Retrospective Project, which documents the development of their touring exhibition (2009-2012).