Saburo Teshigawara & KARAS
'Glass: Fragments of Time'
by David Mead
May 15, 2008 -- Ikon Eastside, Birmingham, UK
When trying to analyse “Glass: Fragments of Time”, I keep coming to the conclusion that I should rail against the whole piece. There seems to be no deep concept, theme or symbolism. It really is all about moving on broken glass. Yet, it was strangely hypnotic and at times quite beautiful.
Ikon Eastside is a new gallery space and the work opens with Teshigawara and Rihoko Sato against two of the bare white walls. The setting is simple, yet visually and aesthetically stunning. The room is dominated by a huge square of broken glass that almost seems to shimmer a turquoise blue colour as the light plays on it, before reflecting on the surrounding walls. In fact, both Sergio Pessanha’s lighting and the electronic background score played live by Seven Leg Spider (Tim Wright and John Richards) add greatly to the scene throughout.
As Teshigawara begins to dance, his body contorts, often as sharply as the glass shards in front of us. Much of his movement is very angular and contorted, in contrast to the much smoother, often delicate shapes created by his partner. Once on the glass (and before you ask, yes they do wear shoes), they slide and glide, as if this sea has frozen over. Each step seems to set off what sounds like thousands of firecrackers. There seems to be no pattern, no form, and no rules as they dance, even occasionally jumping or lying down. Only briefly is there any contact; for the most part they are together, but apart. Then, gradually, they return to their walls and it is all over.
However, as engaging as it was, would I want to see it again? And sadly, while I was pleased I went and would recommend anyone else to go experience it once, I think the answer is no, at least not unless it was in a different space. And therein lies the problem with the piece. As I suggested earlier, apart from Teshigawara’s self-expression, there really is very little in the dance itself. The feelings it engendered came rather more from the experience of being in that intimate space (a full house would see an audience of around 100) and being almost part of the performance, rather than arising from the movement itself.
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