Shozo Shimamoto (Osaka 1928 - 2013) is co-founder, with Jiro Yoshihara, of Gutai movement, Concrete Art Association, founded in 1954 with the intent to renew the tradition of Japanese art (particularly the Zen culture) and to receive and overcome, through a search of greater identity, innovation incentives from the West. Gutai in fact means "concrete": code that wants to be in opposition to abstraction, understood as the mental approach to work and move towards a direct link with the making of the artist and quality of the material.
So "The Gutai Manifesto" by Jiro Yoshihara in "Geijutsu Shincho" of 1956, reads: "our awareness leads us to consider the contemporary works of art forgery as that flaunt conventional appearance that makes sense. It 's time to say goodbye to these simulacra piled on the altars, buildings, classrooms, drawing and antique shops ... masquerading as spiritual products, the materials are slaughtered and are no longer able to speak ... The Gutai art does not transform the material, Gutai art gives life to matter. The Gutai art does not falsify the matter. Gutai art the human spirit and matter, shaking hands, while remaining rivals ... In a world searching for the original and the unknown ... our experiments are born all the time in which you present the appropriate to freely express creativity exhibitions ... Gutai are always inspired by a great vitality and our desire to reach new discoveries in the life of matter that emits thunderous screams".
Since the first works Shimamoto said what will be the leitmotif of all his work: the interaction that binds the one hand, and willingness randomness of matter, the other the performative act of the artist. His "hole" are the result of an event in which the creative act is closely related to the matter of color and the media. The work is the result and the testimony of a process of relationship between gesture and matter. The color is in fact applied to layers of overlapping sheets of newspaper with a friction that causes it to tear.
The research continues to explore the scope Shimamoto painting through new trials: in 1956, are the cannon works, works obtained from the accidental arrangement of color on canvas, fired from a cannon specially constructed by the artist. The assimilation of the exponents of the Gutai and promotion of the informal Tapié, who exhibited their paintings in Europe and the United States, shifts the emphasis on the purely pictorial values of the paintings and artists Shimamoto Gutai, but for which the creative process is essential.
The bottle crashes, for example, are based on a method of operation opened in 1956 on principles similar to those of the cannon works: the artist favours the action of matter without any pre-existing design, making bottles explode on the canvas full of color.
After the death of Jiro Yoshihara in 1972, the Gutai group dissolves and its members undertake separate careers. Shimamoto began to get interested in mail art and the creation of a network of artists around the world, in particular by binding to similar actions in the field of Fluxus. In this way, Shimamoto is pursuing a project as it was in the collectivist spirit of the Gutai, and the will of his early years to build a cultural bridge between Europe, USA and Japan.
Since the nineties, the technique of the retrieves Shimamoto bottle crash, which will keep up to date evolved in the performative character. His most recent production is carried out only during public performances, events in the collective spaces that bring together large-scale trials of the first outdoor displays with the path to artistic research, emotionally involving space, the public and the artistic gesture in a large "theatre of the painting."
Shozo Shimamoto said: “Colors without matter don’t exist. I think the first thing to do is to free colors from the paint brush. If you are creating something and you don’t throw away the paint brush you have no possibility to develop colors. Without paint brushes colors live for the first time. You can use successfully whatever kind of mean instead of the paint brush”.
The art critic Tapié said in 1962: "There is no artist who feels the Gutai was always like Shimamoto ... It was Shimamoto to impress the others of the group in a extraordinary way ... A work of massive roundups, who still consider it a masterpiece, made simply with a scattering of yellow broom on the big white canvas. He had made less than ten minutes and did several years before he was presented with Mathieu ... Of the works of holes, similar to that about ten years later showed the public the famous Lucio Fontana. Clearly this is a coincidence ... The breaking of bottles on the canvas full of color with the mounting of an explosive form of the same color. At times he blew the acetylene gas in a long metal tube that was placed over the mouth of the color was thus launched on the canvas. This, too, has largely anticipated what he did Dali and other experimentally using a gun ... The repeated fixation of the same sign on the canvas. I’m witness that this occurred before knowing Capogrossi ..."
The art critic Achille Bonito Oliva wrote: "If modern science has exalted the case intelligently, the celebration of the event caused by the breaking of the rigid chain of cause and effect, contemporary art, from Mallarmé's un Coup de des up to the cut-up of Brian Gysin, put into use by W. Burroughs, celebrates the possibility of a painful case of form, now confirmed by the great Japanese artist group Gutai, Shimamoto, which has renewed the fifties the creative process. He introduced a distance and a gap between doing and see ... The group Gutai and Mono-ha are eastern two tribes, namely the Japanese, who in the late forties and the beginning of the next decade have changed their strategy with the creative also the mentality of the Western Hemisphere. Shiraga, Motonago, Kanayama and Tanaka are the artists who have woven pictorial aesthetic attitude and action performing well in advance than the American abstract expressionism.
Highlights: the artistic ferment of the late forties and the beginning of the next decade the Japanese Kansai region (the province of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe), from which the environmental group Zero (Zero-kai) of Shiraga, Murakami , Tanaka and Kanayama, which was drained in 1955 in the already formed Gutai group (Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai) Jiro Yoshihara. The development of performative research through the succession of historical exhibitions and public performances organized by the group ... In 1956 in the "open-air exhibition of the Gutai Art" is a painting made with cannon Shimamoto had a large size scale, such as to demand that the work was placed outdoors, as a result of this trend led the artist to create his works bottle with the crash. Shimamoto's performance is therefore not the unveiling of an eye classic and discreet, rather than see the ritual of exorcising a gesture of the real bias that wants to trace the origin and dynamics of organic life, a sort of all contracted in the creative. The gesture, the launch of the paint on the canvas becomes a distance-speed, eroticism and desire to expand the magnetic field through the introduction of case work that leads toward the recognition of a total event, also the product of magical thinking ... Shimamoto universe is bent by formal incidents: the toss of a coin, a brush, a rifle shot, the stain of a color, the introduction of templates do things, trees and men, the presence of leaves, grids, machetes and pieces of broken glass, photographic puzzles and finally words. Everything becomes image. And this is the effect of an art always played on the transformation of the elements. A fury that always includes an intelligent quotient of the event accompanies the creative event. If the coup de des Mallarmé needs a minimum distance of a domestic space throughout Europe, the interval between the conceptual paper and the hand that throws the dice, the technique of the artist works in a space of Eastern Europe, a range long that takes into account the vastness of space that connects in any case the different continents through a multicultural art system. Shimamoto thus educates the viewer to an accuracy of folk violence and lasting benefits for other purposes, such as additional to enjoy new forms of beauty dictated by improvisation and the contemplation of the next result. A conjugation of two different anthropology, with the landing of a new and original that contains within itself a synthesis capable of representing a short circuit between the Eastern and Western thought, between figuration and abstraction, narrative and decoration, all enclosed in a unique shape, that of art".
On 23/09/2011 the performance Ashiya 1956 / Reggio Emilia 2011. The Simamoto Performance resurface an event created in the '50s, described in the exhibition catalog, in a statement unpublished, from his teacher Yoshihara "a huge work, which still consider it a masterpiece, made simply with a sprinkling of yellow on the broom large white canvas. He had made less than ten minutes and several years before he was presented Mathieu". (Yoshihara, Introduction to Personal Exhibition by Shozo Shimamoto, Pinacotheca Gutai, Osaka, 1-10 October 1962).
This advocates the performance event "Open-air exhibition for one day" of 1956, together with Shimamoto Gutai artists organized exclusively for Ashiya two journalists and a photographer sent by Life magazine to create a service on the group.
In 2011, the exhibition “Shozo Shimamoto. Opere 1950 – 2011. Oriente ed occidente” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, at Palazzo Magnani in Reggio Emilia from 25/09 to 08/01/2012. It includes works from the cards, the canvases of the '50s, to the extraordinary explosion of color performance of Punta Campanella (Sorrento) and Capri, the work done at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, during the exhibition at Museum of Villa Croce in 2008.
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© Riproduzione Vietata