「 具体 」在哪里?

吉原 治良 Jiro YOSHIHARA

2020.5.22 – 7.21



At the beginning of 2020 while the epidemic of the Covid-19 keeps elasticizing, Germano Celant, the Italian art critic and leader of the Arte povera ¹, died in Milan at the age of 80 from the complications of virus-causing pneumonia on the evening of April 29. Poverty art movement was one of the last art movements in the 20th century, in which is more than a reference to the scarcity and simplicity of the artwork materials or self-deprecation of the artist’s tough life. It was an art genre that goes hand in hand with earth art, post-minimalism, and conceptual art.

At the same time of 1968, Nobuo Sekine ignited the Mono-Ha art movement (School of things) with his work ” Phase—Mother Earth” at the Suma Park of Kobe in Japan. Works of Mono-ha art movement focused on the relationship between space and the “matter”, the concept believes space and “matter” are interdependent in their nature characters and emphasizes the matter itself’s interlinking. This art movement became known as the “School of Things” with the main members of Nobuo Sekine, Lee Ufan, Katsuro Yoshida, Kishio Suga, Susumu Koshimizu, Noboru Takayama, Katsuhiko Narita, which gradually developing and emerging in the Kanto areas of Japan.

However, before Poverty art Movement and Mono-ha happened, another avant-garde art movement, GUTAI, arised in Kansai at the year of 1954, representing an important art group in Japan of Post-War and Contemporary art scene. Known as the GUTAI Art Association and led by artist Jiro YOSHIHARA (1905-1972) from Hyogo Prefecture, Ashiya City, the movement artists’ group had almost 60 members. Besides the well-known Kazuo Shiraga and Tanaka Atsuko, rest of them are still unfamiliar to people.

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吉原 治良 Yoshihara JIRO

吉原 治良|Jiro YOSHIHARA(b.1905)   


Jiro YOSHIHARA was the founder and instructor of GUTAI, the GUTAI Art Association, an avant-garde art group founded in Japan after World War II. The most famous slogan of the GUTAI School was “Don’t imitate others”, and it pursued artistic innovation by directly confronting the material essence. In his The Declaration of Gutai Art, he declares that ‘in the world of concrete art, the human spirit and matter meet each other face to face, while maintaining distance’. In the 1950s, when gestural abstraction was all the rage, this ‘encounter’ was mediated by the body, which drove movement and achieved freedom. In the ‘Circle’ series, the body and movement are reduced to an almost imperceptible level (even though we can see his brushwork in his larger works). As he stated in his manifesto in 1967, the form of the circle drove him to paint, giving him unlimited freedom but simultaneously challenging.


In the ‘Circle’ series, Jiro Yoshihara found a unique ‘method’ in keeping with his ‘personal character’, which blended perfectly with the ‘new spirituality’ he expressed and sought. After ‘The Circle’, Yoshihara explored Chinese characters and other art forms in his later years.


In 1959, Jiro Yoshihara wrote, ‘ Gutai Art Association are not the practice of Orientalism ‘. Indeed, the ‘Circle’ series is not Orientalist art. While his initial objects of enquiry may have been partly Japanese (Oriental), his work has always transcended the traditional and conventional dichotomy between East and West, remaining true to the artist. On a more macro level, his attempts to move beyond gestural abstraction contrast the global trend towards ‘minimalism’ and ‘cold abstraction’ in contemporary art.


Jiro Yoshihara was the founder and instructor of the Concrete Art Association, an avant-garde art group in the 1950s, and brought Concrete art to international acclaim with his “Circle” series. Jiro Yoshihara believes in “don’t follow the example of others” and advocates “doing what no one has done before”. In his ” The Declaration of Gutai Art “, he declares that “in the world of concrete art, the human spirit and matter meet each other while remaining at a distance.” It is for this reason that in Jiro Yoshihara’s “Circle” series, the body and its dynamics are reduced to the point of imperceptibility. Furthermore, Jiro Yoshihara claimed that the Concrete School was not a practice of Orientalism, and even though his early objects of inquiry had some Eastern elements, his work always transcended the traditional East-West divide to liberate art from all stereotypes.