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Opacity of Performance: Takahiro Yamamoto

Jun 16, 2022 - Jun 26, 2022
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
General Accessibility

Performance dates

June 16, 17, 18, and 19, 2022
June 23, 24, 25, and 26, 2022


General admission to the museum provides visitors with access to the performance.

Portland-based choreographer, dancer, and visual artist Takahiro Yamamoto’s new work Opacity of Performance marks a return to live art inside the museum’s galleries. Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this commissioned dance installation will take place over two consecutive weekends, June 16 to 19 and June 23 to 26. A rotating cast will perform in the Laura and Roger Meier Family Gallery of European art from noon to five pm each day. The performance on June 18 will be livestreamed on the Portland Art Museum’s YouTube channel.

Opacity of Performance investigates questions of visibility and objectification through the lens of dance. This live, durational performance explores a performer’s sense of self-awareness and identity while undergoing various states of visibility, activity, and attention. The audience of museum visitors will encounter three colorful curtains made from transparent, translucent, and opaque fabric that divide the European art gallery and form the areas of the performance. There, the cast will perform lively solos and group choreography. At regular intervals one performer will open a curtain to reveal the others, or close it to conceal them from the audience’s view; the curtain’s position then creates new conditions that the dancers must navigate. The performance is ongoing throughout the day and museum visitors are welcome to stay for as long or as little as they wish.

“A quietly stunning work of dance at the Portland Art Museum begs to be widely seen.”

Lucy Cotter, Oregon ArtsWatch

The philosophy of Martiniquan writer Édouard Glissant is central to the work. Glissant defined opacity as what is unknowable to others in one’s subjectivity. For individuals frequently objectified by the dominant culture, cultivating opacity is a means to maintaining a complex selfhood and to resist being identified by a single attribute such as race, disability, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Yamamoto and his collaborators position Glissant’s poetic and political resistance as a means to reflect on the power and the danger of being seen—and not seen—specifically for diverse people that are often erased, marginalized, and endangered by the people and structures of power.

Cast: Intisar Abioto, Roland Dahwen, Nolan Hanson, Garrick Imatani, Sydney Jackson, Irene June, Stephanie Schaaf, Emily Squires, and Takahiro Yamamoto. Ben Evans, dramaturg. Garrick Imatani, curtain production.

The Opacity of Performance exhibition is accompanied by a unique publication of essays, an interview, drawings, scores, and other visual materials, available for purchase  ($25). Contributors include Ben Evans and Takahiro Yamamoto, Ka’ila Farrell Smith, Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish, Jang Wook Huh, Jmy James, Sara Krajewski, sidony o’neal, Samita Sinha, Takahiro Yamamoto, and Laurie Young. The publication was designed by Gary Robbins and printed at Container Corps in Portland.

Curated by Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Lead support provided by the Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights Initiative with additional support from the Museum’s Art Gym Endowment. Creative development supported by MacDowell, lumber room, the Henry Art Gallery, Velocity Dance Center, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Bogliasco Foundation.

About the artist

Takahiro Yamamoto is an artist and choreographer based in Portland, Oregon (on the ancestral lands of Cowlitz, Clackamas and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde). His artistic approach is relational and observational. Starting his conceptual investigations with questions—currently about the phenomenological effects of time, embodied approach to nothingness and being, and the social/emotional implications of visibility—he often invites collaborators to bring their own perspectives into the creation. He has received support from Bogliasco Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, MacDowell, New England Foundation for the Arts, National Performance Network, Japan Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, and others. His performance and visual art works have been presented at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA); Velocity Dance Center, Seattle; Diverseworks, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, among other venues. He co-directs the performance company madhause with Ben Evans and is part of the Portland-based support group Physical Education with Allie Hankins, keyon gaskin, and Lu Yim. Yamamoto holds an MFA in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art.