Major retrospective on Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto opens in Foligno

The Italian Contemporary Art Center in Foligno presents an extensive retrospective exhibition on Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto from September 19, 2021 to January 9, 2022.

From Sept. 19, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022, the Italian Contemporary Art Center in Foligno will present anextensive retrospective on Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto (Osaka, 1928 - 2013), curated by Italo Tomassoni. The exhibition, entitled Shozo Shimamoto. Large Works, exhibits canvases of large dimensions, from four to ten meters, that will engage the viewer in a journey that from color focuses on the deeper meaning of the work of art, in a process of creation that goes beyond the defined space.

The exhibition project is by the Fondazione Morra of Naples, and is fully supported by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Foligno, with technical, logistical and organizational support from the Shozo Shimamoto Association.

“Color without matter does not exist. If in the process of creating one does not throw away the brush, there is no hope of emancipating the dyes. Without a brush, the coloring substances will come to life for the first time. Instead of the brush, any tool could be profitably used. To begin with, bare hands or the paint palette knife. And then there are the objects used by members of the Gutai group: watering cans, umbrellas, vibrators, bullets, skates, toys. And then again feet, or firearms, or whatever. And in all this the paintbrush might also reappear, for there is no doubt that in such innovative elaborations something from the past comes back into being”: these were the artist’s words published in 1957 in the “Gutai” Bulletin, No. 6 Osaka.

In the mid-1950s, Shimamoto began in the small town of Ashiya his artistic adventure with creative work made in public: a garden where he and other artists make works, the result of aperformative activity where the making of the work is synchronous to the contemplation of the audience. Moving away from the Surrealist tradition and Duchamp’s stimuli, the Gutai group of artists established itself in the name of a new creativity.

The exhibition aims to offer a careful and comprehensive look at the Japanese master’s activity, from his early experiments in the 1950s to the performances of his later years. In the 1950s Shimamoto started working as a painter and began to devote himself to action, which gradually turned into happenings. The major Italian happenings of recent years, on the other hand, reveal a reverse path: there is a grand stage construction with its own spectacular autonomy that is reflected within the creation of works that are the result of that public representational moment.

Historically important works will be on view in the exhibition, from the early works with the Gutai group to the explosions of color in the works made in Italy. The retrospective exhibition dedicated to Shozo Shimamoto intends to highlight the greatness of the pictorial surface on which the artist has always acted, making the size of the work an element that does not constitute its total fullness, but a boundary to be overcome, in favor of an ever broader vision of disruptive materiality.

In the image, Shozo Shimamoto. Ph.Credit Fabio Donato

Major retrospective on Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto opens in Foligno
Major retrospective on Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto opens in Foligno

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