吉原 治良 Jiro YOSHIHARA

今井 俊满 Toshimitsu IMAI

堀尾 贞治 Sadaharu HORIO

2023.8.18 – 10.8



Shun Art Gallery·Shanghai is honoured to announce the group exhibition “Drawing” for Jiro Yos

hihara, Sadaharu Horio, and Toshimitsu Imai. The exhibition presents the pen and paper works created by Yoshihara from 1955 to 1965 and his “Enso” calligraphies from the 1960s, as well as Horio’s creations on paper in 2013, and Imai’s acrylic works in 1958.

This exhibition is an interesting retrospective exploration. After World War II, in the 1940s and 1950s, American abstract expressionist artists chose to express themselves with action painting and color field painting. At the same time, a group of artists of different nationalities found new ways in Europe and discovered an informal “Autre” (another) abstract language. French art critic Michel Tapié refined the concept of “Art Informel” in 1951: exploring color, texture, line and movement with free-flowing gestural abstraction. Toshimitsu Imai, who was living in France at the time, was one of the members of “Art Informel”. After Imai returned, he brought this concept to Japan, which aroused a hot response in the Japanese art circle in the 1950s and 1960s. In the exhibition, Imai’s works were created in 1958. He uses bright colors and explosive brushwork to depict direct emotions. Although the works are permeated with surging emotions, the composition remains restrained. Obviously, in addition to European abstract art, Japanese aesthetics also subtly influenced artists.

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About the artist

吉原 治良 Yoshihara JIRO

吉原 治良 Jiro YOSHIHARA(1905 -1972)

A pioneer of post-war Japanese art, Jiro Yoshihara is widely recognized as the founder of the avant-garde Gutai group, which was active from 1954 until his death in 1972. Inspired by Yoshihara’s mandate “studies the human movement, remains true to the material and explores the undiscovered beauty”, the Gutai artists created original artworks that emphasized gesture and properties of matters. Starting in the 1960s, Yoshihara developed a style of action painting inspired by Japanese “Enso” calligraphy and Zen philosophy as well as Western abstraction, he tried myriad variations on the circle, whose simplicity and ubiquity he believed provided infinite possibilities for artistic expression.

Yoshihara’s work has been exhibited throughout his native Japan and at museums around the world, including MoMA

in NYC and the Guggenheim.

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今井 俊滿 Toshimitsu IMAI

今井 俊满 Toshimitsu IMAI (1928-2002)

Amid the post-war turmoil, Imai Toshimitsu travelled alone to Paris in 1952 and became involved in the ‘Art Informel’ movement led by Michel Tapié. Imai returned to Japan temporarily in 1957 and together with Tapié, Georges Mathieu and Sam Francis, they created the Informel whirlwind that was to take over the Japanese art scene. The Informel sought to overturn European aesthetic norms which had a profound effect on Japanese art as it had been constantly imitating Western art.

During this time, Imai’s focus on Japan gave him a clear sense of the traditional Japanese sensibilities that underpinned his work as a means of breaking through European stereotypes. He was very conscious of his roots which led him to emerge through the deadlock of Western art that had become “disconnected” from life by incorporating a Japanese aesthetic that captures nature and art in tandem.

堀尾 贞治 Sadaharu HORIO

堀尾 贞治 Sadaharu HORIO (1939 – 2018)

Born in 1939 in Kobe, Horio studied with Gutai founder Jirō Yoshihara and in the mid-1960s became one of the youngest members of the group, which sought to release the “scream of matter itself” through a combination of performance, painting, theatre, music, and installations. In the 1970s, Horio was a founding member of Bonkura, an art collective based in Paris, and in the 1980s he began his series “A Matter of Course,” or “Atarimae no koto,” which comprised over one hundred exhibitions and performances. Horio sustained a decades-long practice in experimental work, using various found materials such as scrap metal, string, wood, roots, stones, and planks, and became a pioneer of modern Kobe performance art, all while working a factory job at Mitsubishi until 1998. Like Gutai, his practice sought to challenge the boundary between art and life.