Sadamasa Motonaga, the joy of metamorphoses

  • Past
  • 18 March - 29 May 2015

Among the leading protagonists of the joyful and restless Gutai group, Sadamasa Motonaga (Ueno City 1922 – Kobe 2011) has always been pervaded by the magic of childhood. Like all the components of that famous group, he has always sought out new things, unprecedented forms, freeform and cheerful experimentation. When in 1955 he was invited by Jari Yoshihara (the Gutai founder) to create one of his works at their first open-air exhibition, in the pinewood of Ashiya – a rich and cultured coastal town near Osaka – he was too poor to be able to come up with anything ‘institutional’. But walking through the pinewoods, he had a revelation: water is free! Water belongs to everybody! And so he took a few sheets of transparent plastic (vinyl), and glued them together to make long tubes, into which he poured water coloured with ink, and hung them high up between one tree and the other. A feast of colour freed from the constrictions of the brush! A ceremony of shapes, beyond any academic limit. “Gutai art is created by a group of individual artists who use all possible techniques and materials, whereby they do not restrict themselves to the two or three-dimensional, but also use liquids, solid matter, gases and even clay, electricity and time itself to reveal everywhere all possible forms of beauty in its original freshness.” (Motonaga)

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