Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist. After working for more than forty years as Eiko & Koma, she began performing her own solo project A Body in Places in 2014. In 2017 she launched a multi-year Duet Project that she directs and performs with a diverse range of artists.
After studying with Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata in Japan and Manja Chmiel in Germany, Eiko and Koma relocated to America and went on to create 46 interdisciplinary performance works, two career exhibitions, and numerous media works. Their durational performance living installations were commissioned by the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and MoMA. Their Retrospective Project (2009 to 2012) culminated in a comprehensive monograph, Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty, published by the Walker Art Center. Eiko & Koma were honored with the first United States Artists Fellowship (2006) and Doris Duke Artist Awards (2012). Among many other awards and honors, they were the first collaborative pair to share a MacArthur Fellowship (1996) and the first Asian choreographers to receive the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award (2004) and the Dance Magazine Award (2006).
Eiko’s solo project began with a twelve-hour performance at the Philadelphia Amtrak station. Since then, Eiko has performed variations of the project at over forty sites. In 2016, Eiko was the subject of the 10th annual Danspace Platform, a month-long curated program that brought her a special Bessie citation, an Art Matters grant and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. In November, co-presented by Performa 2017 and Met Live Arts, Eiko occupied on each of three Sundays the three Metropolitan Museum of Art sites: For each of these daylong durational installations, Eiko created and performed in conjunction with hours-long video distillations of William Johnston’s photographs, “staining” the walls of each instillation with haunting images of herself dancing in ruined Fukushima.
Eiko teaches Delicious Movement in communities, colleges and art schools. Using movement study as a means of inquiry along with readings and media studies, she also teaches interdisciplinary college courses about the atomic bombings and other environmental disasters. In 2016 Eiko was named Artist-in-Residence for its Dignity Project at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Eiko was a think tank fellow in Wesleyan’s College of the Environment.