Featured in
Issue 223

Ei Arakawa Is No Soft Target

The artist answers the frieze Questionnaire

BY Ei Arakawa in Interviews , Questionnaires | 12 NOV 21

How would you describe your work?

I do social dance and temporal architecture by channelling collective performance histories.

What’s your first memory?

It happened at my home in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan. My brother, Tomoo, and I were watching smelly asphalt road construction after dark!

Who do you admire most in history?

Pilots in plane crashes who had to deal with extreme situations at high altitudes, as in the documentary television series Mayday (2003 ongoing).

Are there any characters from a book or film that you wish were real?

The cathartic and enigmatic GJ – played by Holly Hunter – from Top of the Lake (2013). She reminds me of a friend of mine whom I met when I was 19.

What was the best concert you attended?

The Strollin’ Cowgirl Tour by the Japanese pop singer Yumi Matsutoya in 1997. The lighting was designed by Mike ‘OZ’ Owen. One day, when Matsutoya dies, I will re-watch this concert.

What do you wish you were better at?

Kakiage tempura. I am not very patient with the ingredients as they form together in high heat.

What should people avoid?

Being a soft target.

Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab’ is on view at Artists Space, New York, USA, until 27 November.

This article first appeared in frieze issue 223 with the headline ‘Ei Arakawa’

Main image and thumb: Ei Arakawa, Mega Please Draw Freely, 2021. Courtesy: the artist and Tate; photograph: Brotherton-Lock

Ei Arakawa is a performance artist. His first monograph, Performance People (2021), is published by Koenig Books. He lives in Los Angeles, USA.