Kazuo Shiraga : paintings / Mnuchin Gallery, New York / February 10 – April 11, 2015.

L’artiste historique du groupe GUTAÏ Kazuo Shiraga (1924 – 2008) fait l’objet d’une grande exposition de ses peintures à la Mnuchin Gallery de New York, retraçant la carrière de l’inventeur des « foot paintings » depuis quatre décennies, de 1958 à 2000. Véritable militant de l’art, Shigara s’est illustré dès 1954 par son radicalisme et sa créativité au sein du groupe Gutaï, qui aura au Japon révolutionné l’histoire de l’art mondial dès les années 5o. Performatif, provocateur, extrémiste, l’art du groupe Gutaï préfigure les happenings et performances des artistes radicaux des années 60 et 70 aux USA et en Europe.

New York—Mnuchin Gallery announces an exhibition of major paintings by Kazuo Shiraga (1924 – 2008). Tracing the evolution of Shiraga’s signature “foot painting” method over his entire career, it will feature 17 examples spanning more than four decades from 1958 to 2000. It wil l be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue authored by noted Gutai scholar Dr. Ming Tiampo, Associate Professor or Art History at Carleton University, with an introduction by Dr. Reiko Tomii, independent art historian and curator. The exhibition will be on view February 10 – April 11, 2015. An opening reception will take place Tuesday, February 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Shiraga first embarked upon his experiments with foot painting in 1954, on a quest to articulate a radical individualism as a rejection of Japan’s wartime militarism. Throwing away his brushes and rejecting his hands as too trained, Shiraga began painting with his feet, which enabled a fresh and direct mode of expression. Starting with paper or canvas laid out on the floor, the artist would deposit copious amounts of oil paint on the surface, and paint with the movements of his bare feet, sometimes hanging from the ceiling by a rope. Shiraga went on to employ this method of painting for the rest of his career, declaring, “I have never doubted that ‘action painting’ is my expression, never stopped it. I will single-mindedly continue to paint my painting with a sincere desire that the pleasure of making a painting will be communicated to those who see it.” While the palette and mood of these works evolved over time, they are united by a vigorous energy and a facture so d ramatically rich and textured as to be almost sculptural.

A leading member of the Gutai Art Association, the most influential collective of avantgarde artists in postwar Japan, Shiraga is known not only for his innovations in action painting but also for his groundbreaking performances, such as Challenging Mud (1955), which predated Allan Kaprow’s Happenings in the United States and Europe. Shiraga’s work featured prominently in the Museum of Modern Art’s 2012-2013 exhibition, Tokyo 1955 – 1970: A New Avant-Garde and the Guggenheim’s 2013 exhibition, Gutai: Splendid Playground, co-curated by Dr. Tiampo.

Shiraga will be the subject of Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga, a two-person exhibition opening at the Dallas Museum of Art in February 2015.




Visuels : 1 & 4- Kazuo Shiraga : paintings untitled 1962 & 1968 / 2 & 3- Kazuo Shiraga : performance Gutaï, 1955 / Copyright Gutaï archives / the estate of Kazuo Shiraga / Mnuchin Gallery New york

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