Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Art, Anti-Art, Non Art

March 2007 saw the Getty Center hold an exhibition called Art Anti-Art Non-Art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Post War Japan 1950-1970, this exhibition looked at artists and art groups that had begun to flourish during the recovery years after the war. As the title hints the exhibition looked at works in the public sphere;music, performance art, it looks briefly at architecture, the book accompanied the exhibition, edited by Charles Merewether with Rika Iezumi Hiro, it features two in depth essays by Charles Merewether and Reiko Tomii that look at the formation of art groups such as Tokyo Fluxus, Hi-Red Center, Bikyoto, Group Ongaku, Gutai Art Association among others, and also profiled individual artists, photographers,and musicians. The essays are illustrated and the book also contains a great selection of plates of images and pieces featured in the exhibition, many from the collections of the Getty Research Institute.

Electric Dress - Tanaka Atsuko,1957

Focusing on art in the public sphere the book looks at many events that are now perhaps considered defining moments in post war performing art in Japan, Hijikata Tatsumi's performance of Mishima's, Kinjiki, (Forbidden Colours) in May 1959, the piece which saw the start of his Ankoku Butoh Group (School of Utter Darkness). The photographer Eikoh Hosoe was inspired by this performance and would photograph Hijikata for two later exhibitions. Other photographers that feature in the book include Moriyama Daido, Domon Ken, Shohei Tomatsu, and their work in the Hiroshima-Nagasaki, Document,1961 features, a work that looked at the effects the bomb had on the citizens of those cities, the work also included reproductions of paintings by Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi known as The Hiroshima Panels which are on display at the Maruki Gallery. Japanese artists who found affinity with George Maciunas's Fluxus Manifesto,1963, are also examined.

Hijikata Tatsumi Holding an Infant and Running Across a Rice Field, by Hosoe Eikoh, 1965

Images reproduced with permission

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