Questions were an important part of the work of 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. A tribute to this ‘many-headed’ artist, this survey centres both on his astonishing film and video and his trailblazing shifts through varied media and performance; Terayama always made work that was interrelated, often producing visionary and unexpected outcomes in whatever his chosen form.
Curated by Thomas Dylan Eaton in association with Tate Modern.
With generous support from Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Japan Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation, Toshiba Foundation, and All Nippon Airways.
Tate Film is supported by Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation.