Shozo Shimamoto - Gutai group

Shozo Shimamoto was a Japanese artist, a co-founder of Gutai group and one of the most daring and independent experimentalists of the postwar. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1928, Shozo Shimamoto attended Kansui Gakuin University and graduated in 1950. The artist is best-known for his contributions to the influential Gutai Art Group and the development of the mail art movement. Gutai was the first radical, post-war artistic group in Japan, created around the idea of a relationship between body and matter in pursuit of originality. The group was involved in large-scale multimedia environments, performances, and theatrical events.
Under Yoshihara's guidance, Shimamoto and the master’s other students found the Gutai Movement of Concrete Art. The name was Shimamoto's suggestion. He put his house at their disposal, and it became the official headquarters of the group. The "Gutai" bulletin, the official Association review was printed here.






 The first "Gutai" bulletin is printed: it contains some illustrations of works by the artists of the group, including one by Shimamoto. The members of Gutai, after joining forces with the members of the Zero Group (Tanaka, Shiraga, Murakami, Kanayama), take part in the "Seventh Exhibition of the Independent Yomiuri", an event that the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum held each year to give young artists an audience. On this occasion their works are signed Gutai.
During the “First Open Air Exhibition of Modern Art: to challenge the mid-summer sun”, the first independent meeting of the Gutai Group held in the Ashiya pine wood, Shimamoto exhibits a metal sheet with small perforations, painted white on one side and blue on the other. In the evening a lamp illuminated the sheet from behind creating an effect similar to that of a starry sky.
In the same year, Shimamoto takes part in the “First Gutai Exhibition” held indoors, at Ohara Kaikan in Tokyo: for the occasion he presents the work Please, walk on this made up of a series of wooden boards on a system of springs that make it difficult to walk on. The artist will go on to produce various reconstructions of this work in the nineties.(studiovisconti.net)







As a founding member of the Gutai movement, Shimamoto’s action-based painting style was seen as the Eastern, independently born reaction to important art movements in the post-war art scene in the United States, most famous of them being Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionism. Shimamoto’s art is mainly ruled by the artist’s actions, gesture and chance. As an example of his work, Shozo Shimamoto’s Bottle Crash performances consisted of the artist smashing glass bottles full of paint against a ground of canvas to create a pulsating field of color.(widewalls.ch)





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