Shuji Terayama, Butterfly, 1974
courtesy the Terayama Museum
Questions were an important methodology for Shūji Terayama (1935–1983), whose striking creative work exists in a liminal space between fact and imagination. Terayama's career recalls an eerie tale of Japanese folklore in which a face shifts to become a different face. An acclaimed filmmaker, poet, radio and stage dramatist, essayist, photographer and horseracing tipster (with no less than eight volumes of commentary to his name) Terayama was, in the words of theatre critic Akihiko Senda, 'the eternal avant-garde'.
In an era when Japan's underground was reaching a fever pitch, Terayama was a crucial player in a complex network of creative expression, encompassing such countercultural legends as singer Akihiro Miwa, photographer Daido Moriyama and graphic artist Tadanori Yokoo. The show at Tate is a tribute to this 'many-headed' artist and centres both on his astonishing film and video work and his trailblazing shifts through varied media and performance. It also includes a symposium on Terayama's transmedia work and a live cinema performance in the Turbine Hall. Terayama always made work that was interrelated, often producing visionary and unexpected outcomes in whatever his chosen form.
Complete programme details on www.tate.org.uk.