14.10 201827.1 2019

Carmen Olsson & Martina della Valle

Butoh meets Ikebana Contemporary movement and traditional tranquility

The project Butoh meets Ikebana / Contemporary movement and traditional tranquility is carried out in conjunction with the exhibition Japan – Spirits of Nature. The aim was to explore what happens in the convergence of two contemporary artists who have made traditional Japanese arts a part of their practice.

The invitees were photographer Martina della Valle from Italy, who was featured at the time with the ikebana project One Flower, One Leaf, and butoh dancer Carmen Olsson from Uddevalla.

For one week, the two artists each lived in their own guest studio at the museum, and based on the current exhibitions and the surrounding environment, they developed their respective practices together. The process-based project took shape throughout the course of a week, which the artists spent at the museum. Martina della Valle stayed for several days in the museum’s Fria verkstad. She invited curious visitors to see more of her work and her preparations for a workshop which was held over a weekend. In the evenings, Carmen Olsson took over the exhibition halls, where she performed new stage pieces inspired by the art around her. On the weekend of 20–21 January 2018, visitors had the chance to see Carmen Olsson’s expressive butoh dancing and to participate in Martina della Valle’s ikebana workshop, in which she and florist Satoko Hatayama, together with the participants, explored the area surrounding the museum in search of wild plants to arrange and document. Physical movements met meditative arranging, in which the strictly controlled met the wild-grown as Japanese inspiration converged with Bohuslän.

Photo documentation, artwork and additional information about both artists’ practices and their time in Skärhamn can be seen in Thordénrummet.

Martina della Valle
Photographer Martina della Valle (born in Florence, Italy in 1981) graduated in 2003 from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy. In 2007, she was selected for the Corso Superiore​ di Arti Visive at Fondazione Ratti in Como and offered a two-month residency in Paris by the DENA Foundation. In 2009 she was invited to Onomichi University and on a month-long visit to AIR Onomichi in Japan. In 2014 she was granted a residency in Paris through the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and Mois de la Photo. Martina della Valle’s work is based on photo media. She is interested in the physical and mental traces left by light through time and space. Her work takes many forms and is presented in various techniques, including images, video and site-specific installations. Martina della Valle lives and works in Berlin.

Carmen Olsson​
Carmen Olsson is a choreographer and dancer, and with inspiration from her Nordic and Spanish heritage she has developed a personal style of butoh – Mibudo. In the 1990s, she studied butoh in Japan. Along with a later meeting with the Japanese performing arts No and Kyogen, this inspired her to seek out her own vocabulary of dance. Since 1993, Carmen Olsson has worked with Body Weather, a form of dance and performance art developed in Japan by butoh dancer Min Tanaka and his dance company Mai-Juku. In 2004, Carmen Olsson participated in the initiative featuring seven female choreographers at Dansens Hus in Stockholm. TV station Sveriges Television followed the project and produced an episode of the TV show K-special called Tro hopp och debuter (Belief hope and debuts). In 2005, Carmen Olsson was presented the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Choreography Grant and she worked with research in Spain, which was the basis for the presentation Twilight’s Glove. In 2006 she received the Adlerbertska Culture Scholarship, with the motivation: “On one level, her work as a choreographer and dancer can be said to involve an exploration of space-time. Based on a genuine interest in nature and cultivated landscapes, Carmen Olsson has studied Japanese butoh dance with much success. As a result, she has found a challenging slowness that can push the limits of patience at times, along with a sense of emotional control that is juxtaposed with the hotter temperament of flamenco in her latest work.”