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Falling Dance: Hijikata’s Recomposition of the Body via Bacon

Innami, Fusako (2021) 'Falling Dance: Hijikata’s Recomposition of the Body via Bacon.', The Senses and Society, 16 (1). pp. 1-15.


The themes of transformation, indefinite form, and disintegration haunt the work of many post-World War II artists, who had witnessed the animality of human beings as well as the depths to which human beings can fall in wartime. This paper looks at falling as an artistic and phenomenological practice of the body in the work of the Japanese butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata, whose notations refer in places to the work of the Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon and offer new bodily lexicons with which to graph the movement of falling. Drawing explicitly on Bacon and using cross-media collage to produce movement, a body in Hijikata could be deformed or made formless onto the ground. In falling, inhabiting and simultaneously vacating oneself, the body makes contact with a surface and leaves or exteriorizes a graphic mark, visual, and performative, in its wake. This attention to falling was part of an ongoing process at the rise of phenomenological boom in postwar Japan by which artists attempted to understand and recompose the kind of body that could inhabit the nuclear age.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:22 October 2019
Date deposited:28 June 2021
Date of first online publication:12 March 2021
Date first made open access:28 June 2021

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