International Visiting Artists: Japan

FADO is pleased to present the Toronto premieres of Japanese performance artists Mimi Nakajima and Shin-Ichi Arai, in the context of the 4th 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, and as a part of FADO’s International Visiting Artist series.

Mimi Nakajima and Shin-Ichi Araiare part of a recent trend in Japanese performance art toward a rawer, more direct style that eschews the formalism and romanticism of an earlier generation. While traces of the poetic influence remain, these artists’ works reveal their interest in casting an unblinking eye on our bodies as a site of social tension.

Happy Japan! and Tourist: For E. Herbert Norman by Shin-Ichi Arai

In Happy Japan!, Shin-Ichi Arai calls attention to some of the contradictions of his native country. Critical of the political system and alarmed by conservative and xenophobic cultural tendencies, Arai makes his own patriotic statement through a bold art action: “Here in Japan, which is said to be rich, to be mature democracy, to have freedom of expression, all I can do is cry; Happy Japan! Happy Japan!”

Wind doesn’t blow branches by Mimi Nakajima

In relation to her work, Mimi Nakajima writes: “My performances develop from problems in my daily life, which I try to observe in an optimistic way. As I start to find the truth of a question, my thinking moves toward philosophic conclusion, the territory of ‘reason’. If I bring my conclusions back to reality, it creates a funny gap. That is what I want to express in performance. There is always some ‘vagueness’ in trying to clarify truth. It is quite difficult to express the vagueness itself, but I find performance a useful means of accepting it. In performance art, people experience discovery through sharing time and place.”

© Mimi Nakajima, Wind doesn’t blow branches, 2002. Photo unknown.

Mimi Nakajima

© Mimi Nakajima, Wind doesn’t blow branches, 2002. Photo unknown.


Mimi Nakajima is based in Tokyo. A graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Art, she has presented her work in Europe and Asia.

Artist Orange

Just as a performance artist uses their body as their medium, this is a fragrance composed entirely of the orange tree: fruit, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Artist Orange performs itself.

Top Notes

neroli, blood orange

Middle Notes

fresh orange juice, petit grain

Base Notes

orange twig, orange seed