Shozo Shimamoto

Shōzō Shimamoto (Osaka, Japan, 1928 – 2013, Osaka, Japan) was one of the founders of the Gutai group, the first radical, post-war artistic group in Japan. Challenging the boundaries of traditional artistic practices while promoting the individual approaches of its members, the group aimed at investigating the reciprocal connection between matter and physical action. Gutai artists expressed the desire to be part of a new, liberal-minded Japan and strongly rejected representative art. They collaborated with other artistic groups based in Europe and America. 

Three years after its creation in 1954, the group produced the Gutai Stage Exhibition: it was the first time the stage was used as a living artistic space. During the performance, enriched by sounds, cranes and weapons, works were created by a shooting cannon, manufactured by Shimamoto himself. The Centre Pompidou in Paris soon acquired some of Shimamoto’s groundbreaking sounds works. Conceiving of the artwork as the result of a social and collective effort, Shimamoto used to invite artists he met to express with canvases, brushes, and colours and documented these performances. In 1972, when the group split up, Shimamoto started developing an interest in Mail and Networking art. Throughout his extensive artistic career, Shimamoto continuously embraced and fused different styles.

Selected Exhibitions

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Modern Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, Paris; National Art Center, Tokyo; Seattle Museum, Washington and The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

Selected Collections

The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The Tate Modern, London; The National Museum of Modern Art of Rome, Italy;  Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice; and the Tokyo Contemporary Art Museum, Japan. 

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