Costume en Face: A Primer of Darkness for Young Boys and Girls
Author: Tatsumi Hijikata
Translator: Sawako Nakayasu
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2015)
As the founding father of the radical dance form that he called Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986) is a legendary figure in the history of art and contemporary dance. Though influenced by Western artists and writers—the expressionist dance of Mary Wigman, the writings of Artaud, de Sade, Bataille, and Genet, and the drawings and paintings of Goya, Picasso, Toyen, Beardsley, and others—he was dedicated to the particular experience of the marginalized, Japanese suffering body after World War II. In the mid-1970s, Hijikata became concerned with developing notation for his Butoh, and some of these Butoh-fu notations remain, largely in the form of notebooks transcribed by his disciples. Costume en Face is the first publication of one of Hijikata’s notebook notations in either English or Japanese. In it we can see, for the first time, the profound interconnectedness of language and body in Hijikata’s process of composition.
"One of the strangest and most beautiful dance books to come along in a while. [...] Somewhere between score and poem, the notebook takes on a kinetic life of its own, about as close to dancing as words on a page can get."
–The New York Times