Kerry James Marshall in Japan

Fri, Aug 31, 2007

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit

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 photos….

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
A trip down the Tenryu River in Iida

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
A Bunraku performance in Iida, Japan

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Bunraku narrator/singer (the “tayu”) and musicians playing the shamisen

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
The oldest extant Bunraku theater in Japan

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Master Bunraku sculptor Makimoto at work

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
from left to right: Mrs. Makimoto, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Kerry James Marshall, Martin Holman, Makimoto, Kevin Fish

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
A collection of Bunraku heads

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Articulated hands on a Bunraku puppet

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
The mechanical details inside a Bunraku head

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Kerry James Marshall at work

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Research set construction

Kerry James Marshall Japan Visit
Kerry James Marshall, a lead puppeteer of the Karoda puppet troupe, and Kevin Fish

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