James Cohan Gallery
New York, NY 10013
Makoto Kawashima was born in 1981 in Saitama, a prefecture of the Greater Tokyo Area, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he first picked up the alto saxophone, electing to perform primarily in a solo configuration since 2010. Following the tradition of alto forebears Kaoru Abe and Masayoshi Urabe, Kawashima recorded his 2015 record Homo Sacer for P.S.F. Records. The swan song release for the legendary Japanese noise label, its publication and recent reissue by Black Editions have represented something of a passing of the free improvisation torch, with the session boasting an impassioned performance by Kawashima using one of Kaoru Abe’s reeds given to him by the latter’s mother. Leaping between subdued lyrical lamentations and insistent trills, Kawashima leaves ample negative space for his dizzying screeches into the void. Kawashima has additionally self-released a number of recordings on his own Homosacer Records.
Blank Forms has curated a program of music and poetry as part of Josiah McElheny’s new solo show, Observations at Night. McElheny’s sonic sculpture, “Moon Mirror,” will function as both an acoustic reflector and an open stage-like platform for performances, as part of an exhibition of optically dynamic paintings and sculptures inspired by cosmic revolutionary figures like Joe McPhee and Sun Ra Arkestra singer June Tyson. Tyson’s optimistic communication of the potential for world-building beyond the painful alienation of presiding earthly visions serves as the focal point for the series’ interrogation of how music and poetry might illuminate new pathways of resistance to our troubled political climate. An international assembly of artists from a diverse spectrum of creative improvising idioms have been selected to use McElheny’s parabolic structure as a catalyst for explorations of both acoustic feedback and social interaction between performers and audiences from heterogeneous cultural spheres. Featuring performers pulling inspiration from black American free jazz as well as experimental music, deep listening, and folk traditions of Korean, Japanese, Iraqi, Indonesian, and Persian music, the surreal convergence of mysteries of light and sound proposes that we might today not only pass through what can feel like a dream or nightmare state but find something here, visible or audible in the twilight that can lead into a cosmic future.
James Cohan Gallery is located two blocks away from the Canal St 46ACEJZ stop. There will be a ramp set up for each Observations at Night performance, making the gallery fully wheelchair accessible. Please write at least three days before the event and we will make every effort to accommodate you.