Kazuo Shiraga, Untitled, 1993. Gouache on paper.
More about the artist
was a Japanese artist best known for his performative painting practice. Shiraga’s gestural style was influenced by American Abstract Expressionism and indicative of his participation in the Gutai avant-garde movement. The object of Gutai was to allow action and everyday life into the creation of dynamic artworks. The artist would suspend himself over his canvases, swinging back and forth, creating marks with his feet, creating a unique texture and thickness to his abstract swirls and splatters.
|Kazuo Shiraga in his studio, 1960. Ph. courtesy of Amagasaki Cultural Center|
“I want to paint as though rushing around a battlefield, exerting myself to collapse from exhaustion,” the artist once proclaimed. Born on August 12, 1924 in Amagasaki, Japan, he graduated from the Kyoto Municipal Special School of Painting in 1948 and joined the Gutai group in 1954.
In a seminal early work, (1955), the artist explored the gesture of sculpting clay by throwing himself and contorting his semi-naked body in a pit of mud. Through the following decades, Shiraga continued to work on activating art through moving a body in space. He died on April 8, 2008 in Amagasaki, Japan. Today, the artist’s works are included in the collections of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Hiroshima City Museum of Art among others.
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