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12/7/09
Too Cute
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Jeremy Wade’s There is No End to More, through last weekend at Japan Society, is like being inside a restless web surfer’s brain for an hour. It veers from a fantasy narrative, to comic book, to variety show, to LOLcats and dogs, to speeches on community, family, and consumerism, to the end of existence. And Wade, who lives in Berlin, has found a stellar interpreter of this marathon solo in everyman Jared Gradinger, eyeglasses and all.

Jeremy WadeThere is a roller coaster dimensionality within the multiple sections of the work, on the Japanese concept of “kawaii”—cute—which can morph into bizarre. The fantasy story that begins the piece (whispered loudly and creepily in a voiceover) shifts from rainbow-and-unicorn pastel imagery to intergalactic warfare. Gradinger moves frenetically through task-miming actions to simple physical punctuation, like punching fists or contorted poses. He wears fanboy clothes—cartoon-print boxers, a football jersey—and takes the mic to speak for parts. The production is so well-executed that voiceovers and live sections blend seamlessly.

Illustrations by Hiroki Otsuka (featured in the video clip below), with video artist Veith Michel, move dreamily across a shaped screen (by Henning Stroh, who also did the Snoopy house-shaped lectern) in a continuous flow—drawn clouds, a “melty bear,” ghosties, a forest scene—to collaged pre-existing imagery of kitties, furniture catalogues, and an endless parade of everything in between, flickering like so many Google searches in a day.

Watch a clip of the work of Jeremy Wade featuring illustrations by Hiroki Otsuka:

Wade, as revealed in an interview with Movement Research, has in the past experimented boldly with the body itself as subject matter. Here it seems as if he’s disassembling the brain and its thought processes. The well conceived and produced video, lighting (by Andreas Harder), and sound (Brendan Dougherty), lend a polish to this commission by the Japan Society. The result is a rich blend of Wade’s scatalogical, sculptural modern dance with a barrage of pop culture. What begins as cute ends in a nightmare, of falling down and down, of an ever-shrinking character, of being sucked into a black hole (that happens to be a coffee table)—of the incredible capacity of our imaginations.

Photo of performance by Veith Michel.

  • Lori Ortiz

    Sounds like very Interesting work….who’d a thought from previous work and collaborations that Wade would take this direction. So much to see…so little time. Sorry I missed it.

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.