Artists Space

Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab

September 22 – November 27, 2021

September 22 - November 27, 2021

For his first solo institutional exhibition in New York, Arakawa locates two specific nodes of exploration. The first is the erection of ad-hoc outdoor dining corrals throughout New York City as a means of maintaining sociability through the pandemic, which Arakawa and his collaborator Gela Patashuri interlace with a circulatory system of ocean water transported from his hometown of Fukushima, Japan. The second is the mediated world of professional tennis as particularly evident in the complex public image of its most visible star Naomi Osaka.

A sharp image of two halves of a pvc pipe placed in front of an out of focus background. Water flows across the pipes; behind the pipes is a steel column.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, detail, 2021, Dimensions variable. [A sharp image of two halves of a pvc pipe placed in front of an out of focus background. Water flows across the pipes; behind the pipes is a steel column.]

Japanese-born American artist Ei Arakawa’s exhibitions and performances are often created through fervent collaborations with artists (and at times their artworks), art historians, and with audience members themselves. His activities undertake the lo-fi mimicry, duplication, and embodiment of cultural forms—be they architectural structures, art historical legacies, or organizational systems—to reanimate their potentialities anew. Since the early 2000s, Arakawa has been at the forefront of renewing the visibility and advancement of performance art internationally, and has mined both its vintage forms (such as Japanese Gutai, New York’s Fluxus, Happenings, and Judson Dance Theater, and Viennese Actionism) as well as numerous contemporary manifestations of movement, entertainment, and togetherness. His work, initially appearing spontaneous or improvised, is underpinned by a deep commitment to collaboration as well as addressing the specific contexts of the people for which it is created.

On the evening of Sunday October 10th, the artist will celebrate the publication of his first monograph, Performance People (co-published with Kunstverein Düsseldorf), with a book release/water release and karaoke event as a form of social rehabilitation. On Saturday October 16th, Arakawa will stage a new afternoon performance exploring the realm of Naomi Osaka in Cortlandt Alley.

Ei Arakawa’s selected performances and exhibitions include Tate Modern, London (2021); Honolulu Biennial (2019); Liverpool Biennial (2018); Sculpture Project Münster (2017); Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2018); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2017); The 9th Berlin Biennale (2016); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2015); Gwangju Biennial (2014); Whitney Biennial, New York (2014); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2013); Pavilion of Georgia at the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia (2013); 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012).

An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and two metal barricades.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and two metal barricades.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and a metal barricade.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and a metal barricade.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp. A chair and column are visible in the background.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp. A chair and column are visible in the background.]
Installation view of white PVC pipe that is cut in half lengthwise. The pipe runs along a wall in the background and makes a sharp turn to drain into a black plastic bin on the floor.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Plumbing & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Installation view of white PVC pipe that is cut in half lengthwise. The pipe runs along a wall in the background and makes a sharp turn to drain into a black plastic bin on the floor.]
Installation view of white PVC pipe that is cut in half lengthwise. The pipe runs along a wall on the right and makes a sharp turn to drain into a black plastic bin on the floor.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Plumbing & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Installation view of white PVC pipe that is cut in half lengthwise. The pipe runs along a wall on the right and makes a sharp turn to drain into a black plastic bin on the floor.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables, and wooden chairs.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables, and wooden chairs.]
Four wooden chairs around a red dining umbrella. Handwritten in black sharpie, the words "Social Muscle Rehab, Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri" appear on a white wall in the background.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab. Installation view, Artists Space, 2021. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Four wooden chairs around a red dining umbrella. Handwritten in black sharpie, the words "Social Muscle Rehab, Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri" appear on a white wall in the background.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables and wooden chairs.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables and wooden chairs.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with metal tables and wooden chairs.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with metal tables and wooden chairs.]
A sharp image of two halves of a pvc pipe placed in front of an out of focus background. Water flows across the pipes; behind the pipes is a steel column.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [A sharp image of two halves of a pvc pipe placed in front of an out of focus background. Water flows across the pipes; behind the pipes is a steel column.]
An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal table and two wooden chairs. Halved PVC pipes are visible in the background.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal table and two wooden chairs. Halved PVC pipes are visible in the background.]
Image of a PVC pipe that has been cut in half lengthwise, nestled in the wall of a wooden dining corral. Water flows through the pipe towards the camera. On the right, a metal barricade can be seen.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Image of a PVC pipe that has been cut in half lengthwise, nestled in the wall of a wooden dining corral. Water flows through the pipe towards the camera. On the right, a metal barricade can be seen.]
An installation view of the corner of a green and tan wooden dining corral. In the center a black plastic bin with black tubes and crumpled black fabric like material is visible.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Corrals & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [An installation view of the corner of a green and tan wooden dining corral. In the center a black plastic bin with black tubes and crumpled black fabric like material is visible.]
Installation view of white PVC pipes that are cut in half lengthwise. The pipes rest on nails against the wall and water trickles inside.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, NYC Plumbing & Iwaki Ocean’s Temporal Visit, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Installation view of white PVC pipes that are cut in half lengthwise. The pipes rest on nails against the wall and water trickles inside.]
Installation view of a gallery space with a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal table and wooden chairs. In the background on the left are grey concrete columns. Between the gaps of the columns, a net and a sign that reads "Social" are visible.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, Social Muscle Rehab. Installation view, Artists Space, 2021. Image courtesy Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Installation view of a gallery space with a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal table and wooden chairs. In the background on the left are grey concrete columns. Between the gaps of the columns, a net and a sign that reads "Social" are visible.]
Installation view of a gallery space with a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal barricade. In the background are four grey concrete columns. Between the gaps of the columns a net and two signs which read "Social" and "Rehab" are visible.
Ei Arakawa with Gela Patashuri, Social Muscle Rehab. Installation view, Artists Space, 2021. Image courtesy Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Installation view of a gallery space with a green and tan wooden dining corral with a metal barricade. In the background are four grey concrete columns. Between the gaps of the columns a net and two signs which read "Social" and "Rehab" are visible.]
View of a gallery space with four grey concrete columns. In the gaps between the columns, a net and three signs are visible. The signs read, "Social Muscle Rehab" in painted white text over green and black backgrounds.
Ei Arakawa. Social Muscle Rehab, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [View of a gallery space with four grey concrete columns. In the gaps between the columns, a net and three signs are visible. The signs read, "Social Muscle Rehab" in painted white text over green and black backgrounds.]
View of a gallery space. A black net hangs from the ceiling, extending from the center foreground into the background where a small television screen is visible. On the left, three signs are propped against the wall. In white text over green and black backgrounds the signs read "Social Muscle Rehab."
Ei Arakawa. Social Muscle Rehab, 2021. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak. [View of a gallery space. A black net hangs from the ceiling, extending from the center foreground into the background where a small television screen is visible. On the left, three signs are propped against the wall. In white text over green and black backgrounds the signs read "Social Muscle Rehab."]
View of a florbound television screen and speaker next to a brown pole. The edge of a black net is visible on the left.
Ei Arakawa. Social Muscle Rehab (early edit for exhibition), 2021. 5:19 minutes. With Dan Chen, Danielle A. Jackson, K.O. Nnamdie, Masako Shiba, Kenneth Teng, Ivanny Pagan, Britnie Williams. Camera by Lazar Bozic (Ortvi.com). Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [View of a florbound television screen and speaker next to a brown pole. The edge of a black net is visible on the left.]
View of a florbound television screen and speaker next to a brown pole. The edge of a black net is visible on the left.
Ei Arakawa. Social Muscle Rehab (early edit for exhibition), 2021. 5:19 minutes. With Dan Chen, Danielle A. Jackson, K.O. Nnamdie, Masako Shiba, Kenneth Teng, Ivanny Pagan, Britnie Williams. Camera by Lazar Bozic (Ortvi.com). Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [View of a florbound television screen and speaker next to a brown pole. The edge of a black net is visible on the left.]
An LED screen is visible behind a set of black bars at the level of a sidewalk. The screen reads in multicolored text "procrastinate on something? Champion."
Ei Arakawa, @naomiosaka, 11:24am, Aug 29, 2021, 2021. 24” x 48.” 6496 LEDs (WS2813, 100 LEDs/m, black) on hand-dyed fabric with grommets, T-300K controller, 2GB SD card with LedEdit 2014 files, 3× 5V 80A power supply with 22 AWG stranded wire. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [An LED screen is visible behind a set of black bars at the level of a sidewalk. The screen reads in multicolored text "procrastinate on something? Champion."]
An LED screen can be seen behind a set of black bars at the level of a sidewalk. The screen reads in multicolored text, "Recently, I
Ei Arakawa, @naomiosaka, 11:24am, Aug 29, 2021, 2021. 24” x 48.” 6496 LEDs (WS2813, 100 LEDs/m, black) on hand-dyed fabric with grommets, T-300K controller, 2GB SD card with LedEdit 2014 files, 3× 5V 80A power supply with 22 AWG stranded wire. Image courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [An LED screen can be seen behind a set of black bars at the level of a sidewalk. The screen reads in multicolored text, "Recently, I've been asking myself."]
A green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and a metal barricade. People sit and stand in and around the corral.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab. Performance documentation, October 10, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Ei Arakawa. [A green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp and a metal barricade. People sit and stand in and around the corral.]
A green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables and chairs. People sit and stand in and around the corral.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab. Performance documentation, October 10, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Ei Arakawa. [A green and tan wooden dining corral with a ramp, metal tables and chairs. People sit and stand in and around the corral.]

Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation (excerpt), October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Video: Lazar Bozic
A group of eight people holding tennis rackets stand and crouch in an alleyway. On signs suspended above them, the words "Social Muscle Rehab" are painted in white capitalized text over black and green backgrounds.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [A group of eight people holding tennis rackets stand and crouch in an alleyway. On signs suspended above them, the words "Social Muscle Rehab" are painted in white capitalized text over black and green backgrounds.]
A person in black athletic wear hits a tennis ball towards the camera in an alleyway. Behind them, the words "Artists Space" appear in white text on the windowpane of a black door.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [A person in black athletic wear hits a tennis ball towards the camera in an alleyway. Behind them, the words "Artists Space" appear in white text on the windowpane of a black door.]
Six people with tennis rackets in an alleyway jump and swing to hit tennis balls towards the camera which is behind a black net. A crowd behind the tennis players watches attentively.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Six people with tennis rackets in an alleyway jump and swing to hit tennis balls towards the camera which is behind a black net. A crowd behind the tennis players watches attentively.]
Tennis players stand in an alleyway, ready to hit balls from an automatic ballfeeder. A crowd watches intently in the background. Suspended above them the words "Social Muscle Rehab" are painted in white capitalized text on black and green signs.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Tennis players stand in an alleyway, ready to hit balls from an automatic ballfeeder. A crowd watches intently in the background. Suspended above them the words "Social Muscle Rehab" are painted in white capitalized text on black and green signs.]
A person with a tennis racket wearing a white hat, shirt, and red and green shorts throws his hands up in gleeful celebration. In the background, a crowd behind a net watches intently.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [A person with a tennis racket wearing a white hat, shirt, and red and green shorts throws his hands up in gleeful celebration. In the background, a crowd behind a net watches intently.]
Four people stand in an alleyway in front of a black net, one of them holding a black megaphone. Five tennis balls lie at their feet.
Ei Arakawa: Social Muscle Rehab (outdoor performance). Performance documentation, October 16, 2021, Artists Space. Photo: Filip Wolak. [Four people stand in an alleyway in front of a black net, one of them holding a black megaphone. Five tennis balls lie at their feet.]

To view more images of the performance click here.

Lead Support for Social Muscle Rehab is provided by Eleanor Cayre.

Exhibition support is provided by James Cahn & Jeremiah Collatz, Lonti Ebers, Jacob King, and Japan Foundation, New York.

Additional program support for Artists Space is provided by The Friends of Artists Space, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The David Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Imperfect Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Danielson Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, VIA Art Fund, Arison Arts Foundation, The Chicago Community Fund, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.