Shozo Shimamoto – 嶋本昭三

Biography

(b. 1928, Japan; d. 2013, Japan)

Shozo Shimamoto, a founding member of Gutai Art Association, emerged as a prominent figure in the Japanese avant-garde art scene of the 1950s, and was a pioneer of the world wide mail art movement of the 1960s and 70s. Shimamoto was born in Osaka in 1928, and at the age of 19, he joined the studio of Jiro Yoshihara with whom he would later set up Gutai Art Association in 1954.

The Gutai art movement was concerned with materiality insofar as attempting a pursuit of originality through emphasizing a relationship between mind and body in the creation of art. Shimamoto’s first attempt at embodying the Gutai spirit in his art developed into the series “Ana” (Holes), produced between 1949 and 1952. Using sheets of newspaper glued together as the paint support, the makeshift canvas would be pierced with holes and tears, then painted over with white and pale blue hues, thus illuminating the layers underneath and its delicate materiality.

Beginning from 1956, public performance formed a critical part of Shimamoto’s artistic practice. At times the artist shot plastic bags of paint out of cannons; other times he would hurl bottles of paint onto the canvas while standing raised on a platform or being lifted by a helicopter, crane or hot-air balloon. Violent in nature, these actions brought spontaneous energy to his art and evoked the post-war anguish of the 1950s.

Shimamoto was also a peace activist and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. He conducted his action paintings around the world and sought to internationalize the art scene in Japan. Widely exhibited and collected in major museums, Shimamoto was dubbed one of the four most important post-war artists alongside Jackson Pollock, John Cage and Lucio Fontana by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 1998. Among his many high-profile exhibitions, Shimamoto participated in the Venice Biennale three times, in 1993, 1999 and 2003. Shimamoto passed away in Osaka in 2013 at the age of 85. In his legacy for future generations, Shimamoto left behind his performance work, Heiwa no Akashi (A Proof of Peace) which he first executed in 2000 by dropping bottles of paint on a concrete canvas from the air. The original canvas is now installed as a monument at the Nishinomiya Yacht Harbour while the performance is said to be reenacted every 100 years on the condition that Japan remains in peace.

Artworks

Shozo Shimamoto, Helicopter Work Udine 09, 2004, acrylic on fabric, 150x107 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Helicopter Work, Udine 09
2004
Acrylic on fabric
150×107 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, Esquisse Hole 4 , 1962, mixed media and holes on thick paper, 37x52 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Esquisse Hole 4
1962
Mixed media and holes on thick paper
37×52 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, Esquisse Hole 6, 1962, mixed media and holes on thick paper, 37x52 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Esquisse Hole 6
1962
Mixed media and holes on thick paper
37×52 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, Crane Performance in Itami 23, 2000, watercolor and ink on cloth, 92x186 cm, at Parkview Art Hong KongCrane Performance in Itami 23
2000
Watercolor and ink on cloth
92×186 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, Crane Performance in Itami 24, 2000, watercolor and ink on cloth, 92x186 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Crane Performance in Itami 24
2000
Watercolor and ink on cloth
84×169 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, 2003, Bottle Crash, 2003, acrylic on plastic sheet, 120x70 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Bottle Crash
2003
Acrylic on plastic sheet
120×70 cm

 

Shozo Shimamoto, 2003, Bottle Crash, 2003, acrylic on plastic sheet, 120x70 cm, at Parkview Art Hong Kong

Bottle Crash
2003
Acrylic on plastic sheet
120×80 cm

 

For more enquires about available artworks, please contact the gallery.