Kerry James Marshall in Japan
This summer, Wexner Center for the Arts Artist-in-Residence Kerry James Marshall traveled to Japan to study the 400+ year old tradition of Bunraku puppetry. The trip took him to Iida and Osaka, ancient homes of Bunraku and the location of annual contemporary puppet theater festivals every summer. Marshall is studying Bunraku as part of his residency research which will result in an exhibition, Kerry James Marshall: Every Beat of My Heart to open at the Wexner Center in February 2008.
Local puppeteer Kevin Fish traveled with Marshall, supplied the photographs below, and will assist with the realization of Marshall's project at the Wexner Center. Martin Holman, professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia and an American expert on Japanese Bunraku, served as guide and translator during the trip. Holman runs a Bunraku study abroad program every summer in Iida and is artistic director of the Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe.
Click here for more information about the continuation of this residency project this fall (including an opportunity for local youth to participate).
Continue reading for more photosâ€¦.
A trip down the Tenryu River in Iida
A Bunraku performance in Iida, Japan
Bunraku narrator/singer (the â€œtayuâ€) and musicians playing the shamisen
The oldest extant Bunraku theater in Japan
Master Bunraku sculptor Makimoto at work
from left to right: Mrs. Makimoto, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Kerry James Marshall, Martin Holman, Makimoto, Kevin Fish
A collection of Bunraku heads
Articulated hands on a Bunraku puppet
The mechanical details inside a Bunraku head
Kerry James Marshall at work
Research set construction
Kerry James Marshall, a lead puppeteer of the Karoda puppet troupe, and Kevin Fish