Homage to Seiji Shimoda: On the Table

Excerpt from Inward Gazes: Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art 2012, The Macao Museum of Art, Macau S.A.R., 2012, p. 99: 'On the Table is a classic performance by the internationally renowned and influential artist Seiji Shimoda. It is a very intense performance, as the artist is moving his body slowly on a wooden table, stretching every part of his body so as to move from one side to the other, from top to bottom, and back to the top, without even touching the floor. Through his naked body, one can see the concentrated physical energy in a breathtaking feat of stamina.

With the permission granted by the artist, I re-performed this piece of art first in Gwangju, Korea (2010), and then in Hong Kong during a symposium on performance art (2010), and in Gothenburg, Sweden (2011). Compared to the original performance by Seiji Shimoda, moving on the table was such a strenuous work for my skeletal body. However, the intensity of my performance lied in the moment when I tried very hard to move myself underneath the table from one side to the other, and fell down to the floor. After numerous attempts, I could only move on bit by bit by dawdling the falling down and climbing up. My body also acted out and adapted the visual memory that I recalled of Shimoda's original performance, which I have seen on several occasions in the last few years.

Strenuous effort also appears to be doomed to succeed in re-enacting a performance as masculine as On the Table with a female body. To re-enact the performance successfully, my performance is not a matter of pursuing equal power to a man or the master artist, but indeed it is about a process of learning, adapting, and softening the action to achieve the diverse possibilities of the body and to use the body as a medium of creation and expression.'

Alternative title

Zai Zhuo Shang: Xiang Shuang Tian Cheng Er Zhi Jing

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Hong Kong



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artwork documentation

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Homage to Seiji Shimoda: On the Table, 在桌上: 向霜田誠二致敬