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Robert and Lisa Sainsbury fellows

Daria Melnikova

Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow 2020 - 2021

PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2018

Daria Melnikova received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania specializing in modern and contemporary Japanese art. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the specific medium of “performance art” (pafōmansu āto) that intersected such areas as film, photography, literature, and visual arts within the cultural, social, and political milieu of Japan from the early 20th century to the present.

At the Sainsbury Institute, she will expand her dissertation into a monograph tentatively titled Body, Camera, Action: Understanding the Metamorphosis of Performance Art in Japan. Her project traces the performance experimentations through the notion of the body and its relation to an image, particularly, the body–image relationship at moments of crisis, such as the ideological repressions of gender and sexuality during the empire and nation-building, the visibility–invisibility of the body in the atomic era, news media and digital age, and the collision of the individual and the community in the public spaces of common memory. In addition, she is interested in the issue of performance documentation, particularly the need to review the status of a “document” in relation to the ephemeral quality of performance art for research, archive, and exhibition purposes.

Furthermore, she examines the creative exchange between Japan and Russia in her article What is Futurism? Russia and Japan Exchange Answers. For her next project, she is investigating the artistic dialogue between Russian avant-garde theater and Japanese stage directors Murayama Tomoyoshi (1901-77) and Sano Seki (1905-66). She also worked at the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art, Columbia University.