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Sometimes taboos make for good shows

by Rob Schwartz

Artist, curator and performer Viviennne U.H. Doan is presenting the second edition of her multifaceted event “Beautified Taboo” on July 9 at Super Deluxe, and if this version is anything like the distinctive experience that greeted patrons of the first event last July, art lovers in Tokyo are in for quite a treat.

The performance aims to take the taboos that we live with everyday and make them visible, and beautiful. To achieve this, Doan — herself an artist who often designs installations — is working with 12 artists and photographers, as well as the dance troupe 86B210, to present a multimedia event that will create a mazelike physical space for guests to wander around. Viewers will be greeted with video projections, interactive installations and more conventional photographs, all designed to spur thought on the nature of taboo.

Artists include American photographer Alexis Alvarez, whose work explores the nude human body; Japanese photographer Yu Hokazono examining marijuana from different camera angles; and New York-based artist Ryan Hale, whose photography exposes confusion about the male identity shown through his recurrent fixation on narcissistic interpretations of himself. A rather disturbing yet colorful sculpture/painting installation by Columbian artist Catalina Madrinan will represent the taboo of child abuse. Japanese photographer Kawori Inbe will exhibit her take on the fetishism attached to high-school uniforms in Japan.

The Japanese avant-garde female dance duo 86B210 will add a more dynamic element with their performance, which incorporates contemporary dance, classical ballet and S&M fetishism.

Lastly, Doan herself ventures into the world of fantasy with a fairy tale-esque paper-cut installation that will display a scroll filled with illustrations of taboos. “Taboo exists in everyone’s lives, beliefs and morals, and it concerns us all as a part of a society,” says Doan. The way this event makes that idea explicit promises to be fascinating.

“Beautified Taboo 2″ takes place at Super Deluxe in Nishi-Azabu on July 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are ¥1,300. www.beautified-taboo.com