From the depths creep those who live in Art’s dark underbelly. They crawl out one by one: the freaks, the bondaged, the dark spirits of dance, and fetish laced wonders from a forbidden world of secrets known only to those invited. They are coming for you.
Each year Japan opens its heart to the Midnight Circus – a performance set made of dreams (and nightmares) that take you out of the realms of reality. Eccentrics from all over the country and the world gather for one weekend of the year to celebrate with Midnight Circus and the pleasures forbidden to polite society. This year’s event entitled Sadistic Circus – A Forbidden Festival of Passion will take place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September and promises to be one of the Midnight Circus’ most intense and colourful shows yet. The best bit? You are invited to join Japan’s secret party for adults with an interest in all things fetish – and Vanilla Gallery is holding two very special collaboration exhibitions to kick start the weekend! It’s not too late to get involved if this is an event that resonates with you, so think about what you’d like to exhibit and check out this exhibition trailer for sale which you could use to present your weird and wonderful interests.
On Friday 12th September, Vanilla Gallery is hosting famous sideshow troupe Pain Solution featuring deliciously dark photographs in the ‘To Bleed or Not To Bleed’ exhibition. The photographs document an insight into the life of Helen Fjer (photos below courtesy of Helen) and the members of Pain Solution, as she explains their performance journey. ‘To Bleed or Not to Bleed’ is also complimented with a special talk and demonstration on the art of suspension at 18:30 after the day exhibition has closed – it is on a first come, first serve basis for the first 30 people (entry for both talk and exhibition: 2,000 yen).
In Vanilla Gallery’s ‘Gallery B’, you will discover the incredible work of Polish visual artists SUKA OFF‘s first solo exhibition ‘Inside Flesh/Black Lab’. Developing since 2008, ‘Inside Flesh’ aims to transcend the usual labels of sexuality and explore the human body, whilst ‘Black Lab’ works to capture an interactive fusion between organic and inorganic materials in an amalgamation of photography and theatre. Known for their visual performing arts, SUKA OFF challenges all that the human body can be – with a history of venues restricting their often bizarre and extreme performances, Vanilla Gallery happily opens its doors to the duo. Both exhibitions will run from midday until 18:00 and cost 500 yen for entry to both gallery rooms.
Over the two days, Sadistic Circus will host a special blend of performers for your viewing pleasure. In the mix with special performances on both nights, you can expect to see Pain Solution combining the art of fakirs and physical theatre that promises a night of adrenaline and awe within a ritual experience. This group proudly boasts that each performance is 100% real with no illusions – as the memories stick with you, so will the new scars honorably stay with them. Audiences can also witness for the alluring succubus Lucky Hell who vows to show you just how deep she can swallow swords. An entertainer like no other, Lucky Hell brings tattooed glamour to the stage and will be joined by her talented partner, body modification and suspension artist Jussi Paradise – as their first visit to Japan together this is an event not to be missed! To top it off, MC/Hirono Yamada, famous for healing ladies with the sound of his voice, brings the Japanese art of Katsuben (the art of narration) to the stage.
Programme A (Saturday 13th September) includes Barbara Murata, injecting grace into pantomime with an added workshop event, and AYUMI, mistress of fetish hooping. All-female idol group BBG48 will be performing and Akira Naka is back to show the beauty of Kinbaku (Japanese style bondage), whilst Cru Cru Cirque are back once again to provide circus acrobatics and laughter along the way.
Programme B (Sunday 14th September) will see a special performance by SUKA OFF, who will also be holding a solo exhibition at Vanilla Gallery to coincide with the event. Asagi Ageha will deliver elegance within her areal arts, and expect transvestite macho Ladybeard to bring his own special blend of ‘cuteness’ to the stage.
A full list of all of the performers taking part in Sadistic Circus – A Forbidden Festival of Passion can be found here along with further information about the event. Due to nature of the Sadistic Circus, adults under 20 years and pregnant women will not be admitted. Tickets prices for Programme A: 9.500 yen (advance)/10.500 yen (on the door). Programme B: 12.000 yen (advance)/13.000 yen (on the door). Two day tickets: 17.000 yen. All tickets can be pre-bought here.