Whitestone Gallery Hollywood Road is delighted to present Gallery Collection, showcasing Japanese Post-war art from 1963 – recent works. This exhibition aims to let the audiences experience unique visuals through featuring nine Asian artists: Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara, to Gutai Artists, Shozo Shimamoto, Chiyu Uemae, Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Takesada Matsutani, Yuko Nasaka, representative of Mono-ha Lee Ufan, and Japanese avant-garde calligrapher Yuichi Inoue.
After the WW II, Japan has experimented and created many artistic movements to discover, and express its feelings towards society in response to a general rejection of conventional systems in post-war Japan. The first generation of Gutai artists (1954-1959) emphasizes the physical interaction with the surrounding environment, also, the mental energy should be able to get beyond the media itself, thus their performance became inscribed in the materials. Shozo Shimamoto (b. 1928-2013), one of the founding members of Gutai, fully expressed the motif of the association by using his physical energy by preforming his signature ‘Bottle Crash’ painting to the world; thus, he showed that actions that were powerful enough to destroy the painting could surpass the intention of the creator. On the contrary, Chiyu Uemae’s (b. 1920- ) works seem more inward and calmer rather than an obvious vibrant feeling; however, through his repetitive motion of continuously pasting oil paints onto canvas, the energy imposed on the work is no less than Shimamoto’s powerful actions.
The second generation of Gutai (1960-1972) inherited the pursuit for originality and bold spirits from the first generation, Gutai members continues to experiment new technology and focused more on mixed media or kinetic arts that goes beyond oil painting and canvas, Tsuyoshi Maekawa (b. 1936- ) who uses Burlap to create paintings with uneven surface as a relief; Takesada Matsutani (b. 1937- ) has pioneered new imaginative possibilities between two and three dimensional forms by using adhesive; at last, Yuko Nasaka (b. 1938- ) explores the beauty of turntable and emphasize the individual circle by accumulate the formation of the enhanced effect. These artists confronted two challenges: how to incorporate human experience into art, and how to reject the criticism of being derivative of Western. As a result, Gutai artists have gained their world recognition and significance after Guggenheim Museum’s Gutai: Splendid Playground exhibition in 2013.
Gutai played a strong roll on influencing Japanese Post-war art, the most well-known relationship should be between Jiro Yoshihara, the founder of Gutai and the Japanese avant-garde calligraphy group Bokujin-kai. Yuichi Inoue (b. 1916-1985), one of the founders of Bokujin-kai, hoped to break through the traditional calligraphy and create the real art, by combining the classical theory and western abstract painting, along aesthetics and Zen philosophy, Inoue devoted his life to develop the “new calligraphy”, using enormous canvases painted with a single “kanji” character.
Lee U-fan (b. 1936- ) once mentioned “Gutai gave us the courage to innovate”, Mono-ha (School of Things) appeared in the late 1960’s. He established the theory of Mono-ha, which focused on the relationships of materials and perceptions, utilizing raw physical materials that have barely been
manipulated, and rebuild the relationship between the objects and environment with the fusion philosophy of east and west. Mono-ha lasted less than a decade, but was one of the most internationally recognized Japanese Avant-Garde movements.
Gutai, Bokujin-kai and Mono-ha might not be having the same background, but they are from the same era with the same target, is to show the world how Japanese Post-war art could be. Whitestone Gallery is proud to present this important period of Japanese art history, the exhibition will be held till 30 July, 2017.