Exhibition from 11 February – 12 March 2016, at WELTKUNSTZIMMER / Opening: Wednesday, 10 February 2016, 7 pm

Exhibition Flyer

Tadashi Endo at the opening, Photo: Daniela Busam

Naoya Ikegami, Photo: Norman Schlupp

Eikoh Hosoe, Photo: Norman Schlupp

Naoya Ikegami and Mitsutoshi Hanaga, Photo: Daniela Busam

Nourit-Masson Sékiné, Photo: Daniela Busam

Naoya Ikegami, Photo: Daniela Busam


With Mitsutoshi Hanaga, Eikoh Hosoe, Naoya Ikegami, Teijiro Kamiyama, Nourit Masson-Sékiné, Helmut Steinhauser


11 February – 12 March 2016


Opening 10 February 2016, at 7 pm, with a solo performance by Tadashi Endo



The exhibition “Butoh Photography” shines light on an important issue for the photography of Butoh dance: the relation between model and photographer, between documentation and staging. What is the significance of the photographer's relationship with the dancer for the specific aesthetic of the photographs, which exceed pure documentation of the performances? Would a survival of Butoh be at all possible without a photographic heritage? The exhibition would like to show that, in the case of Butoh, photography emancipates itself from performance.

With “Butoh Photography” the Hans Peter Zimmer Stiftung seeks to fulfil two aspects of its mission, which have been pivotal since the foundation's establishment in 2009. One is the profound friendship with Japan and the furthering of Butoh dance, a modern Japanese dance, which developed after the Second World War as an opposition to the Americanisation and rationalisation of Japanese society. The other is the examination of the relationship between fine art and performance art.

For this exhibition works by Japanese photographers Eikoh Hosoe, Mitsutoshi Hanaga, Teijirou Kamiyama and Naoya Ikegami have been brought together to provide a comprehensive overview over the development of Butoh dance since the 1960s. The pioneers Hosoe and Hanaga shaped a free photographic view on subject matter and composition. The expressive photographs show the radical play with gender roles and our expectations in distinctive clair-obscures.

With the works by Nourit Masson-Sékiné and Helmut Steinhauser, who both lived in the Butoh dance scene for many years accompanying dancers and events with their cameras, another line can be drawn: the gaze from the West on Japan creates a connection to the influences the German expressionist dance from the 1920s had on Butoh.

The subject matter of the mystical, the invisible, and the ineffable which Butoh takes on, is being mirrored in Butoh photography. By focusing on the body in the terpsichorean activity as well as in the photographic motive, an intellectual readability of the photographs fades into the background in favour of an expression, which fascinates through its dimensions of darkness, shadows and horror. The expressionistic depth of the dance is conveyed and preserved through photography.

In this process the photographs surpass mere documentation of the dance: Within the exclusive staging for the camera in the classic studio setting, in open nature, and in abandoned urban spaces, the dance transcends into the photograph, and materialises itself anew beyond the performance. “Butoh Photography” opens the eyes for the history of the intimate relationship between Butoh dance and Butoh photography.

Supporting programme:

Wednesday, 10 February 2016, 7 pm / Exhibition opening with a Butoh performance by Tadashi Endo


12 - 14 February 2016 / Butoh workshop with Tadashi Endo. Participation fee: 150 Euro. Maximum number of participants is limited to 12. For more information visit the event website or mail to: info(at)weltkunstzimmer(dot)de


Sunday, 14 February 2016, from 4 pm / Symposium „Butoh today“, speakers: Norbert Mauk, Nourit Masson-Sékiné, Sabine Seume, Tadashi Endo, Helmut Steinhauser and Wolfgang Schäfer.



Thursday, 25 February 2016, 5 pm / Butoh workshop for children with Sabine Seume, more information tba


Saturday, 5 March 2016, 7 pm / Butoh performance by Yuko Kaseki and miu


Artistic director: Wolfgang Schäfer
Assistance: Martha Martens
Coordination, Communication, Translation: Akiko Okamoto
Exhibition design: Julia Scholzen

Under the auspices of the Japanese Consulate General Düsseldorf.


With friendly support:


Part of: