Dominique Lévy gallery in New York is opening a spectacular exhibition the last week of January, featuring two influential figures of Japanese postwar art - Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino. United and confronted by the prominent curator Koichi Kawasaki, works by these two stellar artists testify to the parallels and [unintentional] connections between the two important avant-garde collectives in Japan - Gutai and Sōdeisha - further investigating the essentiality of body and matter in the creative process. In the exhibition we announced in late 2014, entitled Body and Matter: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino, the public will be able to witness these connections and differences for the first time in history, brought together by the audacious curatorial intervention of Kawasaki.
Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino belong to different generations, never having shown in the same space before, nor has their work been discussed in relation to each other before. Each of these distinguished artists pursued their own artistic path, one in oil painting, and the other one in ceramics. Experimentation and bold diversions and elaborations of traditional practices took both Shiraga and Hoshino into novel modes of expression, the innovative understanding of their medium, ultimately leading to altering of the perception of the emerging contemporary art audience.
We must never forget how revered is the role of traditional ceramics in Japan, but also that painting in this far eastern country was traditionally executed with ink and thinned paint. Ceramics needed to be polished to perfection, while paintings were not meant to be abstract, and definitely not heavy in paste, smeared and violently produced. Both of the artists of Body and Matter have done their part in altering the idea of painting and ceramics, finally reaching a very proximate solution, each in their respective field.
Becoming involved with the Gutai movement, Kazuo Shiraga introduced a foot painting technique, a mode of creating very similar to the western action painting and particularly the European Informel, although it was substantiated with Eastern philosophy and art. Shiraga’s works were not studies in color, they are manifestations of the force, of the energy contained within the painted, who uses his body to channel it and transfer onto the canvas, laid on the floor. These formless works were the most direct embodiments of the painters idea, what was the core credo of the Gutai artists.
Body and Matter will showcase 23 works by Kazuo Shiraga made from 1960s to 2000s, among which will be the exceptional Suiju, 1985, a painting previously owned by the famous Spanish abstractionist, Antoni Tapies. This work is seen as the best example of Shiraga’s works from the 80s.
Satoru Hoshino is found, by the curator, to be one of the rare few who could stand against the magnificent Shiraga and counterbalance the might of his coloristic explosions. Although his artworks are executed in ceramics, they are objects, completely separated from the applied purpose of the medium. Usually, it was expected that the potter created the piece with his hands, then removing all traces of handiwork and imperfection. Redefining the ceramics and its expressive potential, Satoru Hoshino dis exactly the opposite, rendering the pliant mud in objects, organic in form, deliberately showing the impact of hand on the matter. Molding the matter into suggestive sculptural pieces, he endows his works with life, of which the impersonal ceramic vessels are deprived. His works are shaped on the known traditions of clay art, merged with contemporary visions of what the art should convey, asking questions about the tactile, material and the ethereal, which are met through body and its energy.
Body and Matter exhibition is to show nine brilliant ceramic sculptures, pedestal and wall pieces, created in the 80s and early 90s.
Body and Matter: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino is definitely a must-see for all art enthusiasts and experts who happen to be in New York, promising to incite the contemplation on parallels between Japanese and Western postwar art. It opens at Dominique Lévy gallery in New York on January 29, and it will remain on view through April 4, 2015. This exhibition is also the opportunity for serious collectors to add a true masterpiece to their collections, and the price range for the works on view by Kazuo Shiraga is US $2 million to US $ 6 million, which is what Shiraga’s pieces are going for these days.
If you like new Japanese art, check out our selection of 10 Japanese Artists Under 50.
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