About the Artist
Nyotaimori Tokyo is a team of artists that began Nyotaimori performances in 2015 in Japan. It aims for artistic expressions by overturning the image that Nyotaimori has had previously, decorating the human body and treating it symbolically alongside food.
Few words from the artist Myu Chan, one of the Nyotaimori Tokyo crew:
“Have you heard of “Nyotaimori”? Nyotaimori is an old underground activity that began in Japan’s Edo period, where sashimi is served and eaten on a woman’s body. I sense a warped atmosphere in Japan that fantasizes about gender as taboo. It seems that Nyotaimori is a fantasy born of this distorted feeling. I decided to face this taboo head-on, and try to propose a new Nyotaimori; I wanted to look at the boundaries of recognition and values by drawing out this strange desire that people hesitate to even speak about and, having exposed it, repackaging it.
NYOTAIMORI TOKYO is a team of artists that began Nyotaimori performances in 2015. It aims for artistic expressions by overturning the image that Nyotaimori has had previously, decorating the human body and treating it symbolically alongside food. Even though it has been active for less than 2 years, there have been various responses. For example the viewpoint of “don’t play with your food”. When told I must not do that, I thought about why that is: firstly about what food is, and what play is. I like horse meat and often eat it. Well, are racehorses food? Is horse racing a kind of play that uses food as a tool for gambling? Alternatively, is it only through the process of killing the horse, beautifully slicing it and putting it on a plate that it becomes food? If so, might the essence of food be to beautifully serve and eat it.
In this way it is plausible that people’s value and genre divisions might be like a stickers, that one affixes and peels off through life. When we are born, we are given life, body and sex. I was living without any doubt as a woman, but in junior high school I encountered transsexuals and learned that there are also people who choose their sex. I felt doubts about living obediently in accordance with the conditions I had been given, and started wanting to try deviating from human prescribed physical form and sex. In our Nyotaimori performances the body that becomes a plate is not permitted to move for tens of minutes, so human functions are mastered and one approaches a non-human state (a plate). One is decorated with flowers and other ornaments, food is served and the meal is taken to the audience. Out of respect to the performers, we prohibit the audience from directly touching the body. This is because as well as being a chic game that realizes fantasies, it is also a ritual performance in which one departs from humanity in various ways.
This photographic collection is a means of breaking down various prejudices by dealing with the taboo of Nyotaimori. In addition to the performances, I thought to visualize the values that NYOTAIMORI TOKYO is trying to express in the form of a photo album. In interpreting or dismantling Nyotaimori from all viewpoints, including sex and race, we are considering what beautiful expression is. I believe there is a magical power that draws the heart to beauty so overwhelming that it shuts out any unpleasant gaze towards the naked body.
It has been a privilege to be able gather that feeling into this volume, and deliver it to you.”