Gutai: The Spirit of an Era

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Gutai: The Spirit of an Era

It was one of the most important avant-garde art movements of the postwar era, yet Japan's Gutai group has never been treated to a large-scale exhibition here in Tokyo – a reflection, perhaps, on the fact that it originated not in the capital but down in Kansai. Abstract artist Jiro Yoshihara is credited with founding the movement in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture in 1954, and was responsible for drafting the Gutai Manifesto in 1956, which declared prior art works 'in general to be fakes fitted out with a tremendous affectation'. True to its no-holds-barred philosophy, the group's output ranged from abstract painting to experimental performance to conceptual art. This exhibition, which precedes a show at New York's Guggenheim next year, will display some 150 works by Gutai artists, some of which haven't been displayed in Japan for half a century.

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