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Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka in conjunction with the National Museum of Art, Osaka

Into the Unknown World — GUTAI: Differentiation and Integration

2022-10-22 – 2023-01-09

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Summary

The Gutai Art Association (Gutai) was a collective of artists established in Ashiya (in Hyogo Prefecture, close to Osaka) in 1954. Painter Yoshihara Jiro (1905-72) was the central figure in the association. Through painting and a variety of other practices, the Gutai artists set out to express themselves freely without being confined to existing precedents. Today, Gutai is regarded as origin of Post-war Japanese art, also known as almost like a legend of that period and has finally attained national and international prominence that it deserves.
This exhibition takes a fresh look at Gutai's trajectory from two perspectives: differentiation and integration. This approach has some commonalities with the Gutai attitude of attempting to be a coherent collective while individually producing different work that does not fall into the trap of imitating someone else's art. This follows Yoshihara's view that art should ideally involve the human spirit and matter shaking hands but remaining apart.
The two venues for this exhibition—the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka and the National Museum of Art, Osaka—are both located on the island of Nakanoshima in central Osaka, making this the first major Gutai exhibition to take place where Gutai established the Gutai Pinacotheca, its studio and exhibition space. The Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka focuses on the "differentiation" of Gutai, exploring the individual creativity of its artists, while the National Museum of Art, Osaka focuses on Gutai's "integration," following the undulations of the collective's experimental course. This combination of differentiation and integration results in a new understanding of Gutai. Gutai included both male and female artists. Presented in 2022, fifty years on from the dissolution of Gutai, this exhibition provides a timely examination of what happened when they set out "into the unknown world."


This exhibition is presented at two venues: Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka and the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
Admission fees, opening hours and closing days differ according to the venue.

Information about the Exhibition

DatesOctober 22, 2022 – January 9, 2023
Closed on Mondays (except January 2, January 9). Closed on December 31, January 1
Opening hours10:00–17:00 (last entry 16:30)
VenueNakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka 5F Galleries
Organizer Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, The Asahi Shimbun, MBS
SponsorshipTakenaka Corporation
CooperationDaikin Foundation for Contemporary Arts
GrantsAgency for Cultural Affairs Project for Promoting the Dissemination of Modern Art Overseas (2022/2023)
The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences
Tadao Ando Cultural Foundation
Special cooperationAshiya City Museum of Art & History, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Admission feeAdults
Double admission (includes admission to NMAO), 2500 yen
Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka 1,400 yen (1,200 yen)
University students
Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka 1,100 yen (900 yen)
* Only double admission includes the National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO). For other categories, a separate fee applies for admission to the NMAO. Details of NMAO admission are available at the NMAO website.
* The museum may close without notice in the event of disasters or other circumstances beyond our control.
* Prices include tax.
* School groups visiting the museum should apply at least four weeks in advance. See the schools page for details (Japanese-language only).
* Admission for persons with mental or physical disabilities (along with one attendant) is available at half the same-day admission fee (disability certificate required). Apply at the ticket counter (2F) on the day.

Differentiating Gutai

Differentiation—Nakanoshima Museum of Art, OsakaGutai has always had a reputation for innovation and creativity. Yoshihara Jiro's succinct exhortation to "Do what no-one has done before!" has come to symbolize that approach. The phrase is often quoted, but but the true details of Gutai's innovation and creativity are not generally known.

Taking up the theme of differentiation, the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka extracts some of the elements of the art produced by Gutai artists, and examines in detail how they apply in the individual practices.

At this venue, the aim is not simply to show that Gutai was diverse. Taking the diversity as given, it attempts to investigate the essence of Gutai as a group by bringing out the range of art that achieved acceptance, making the extent of that diversity as visible as possible.

Exhibits (Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka)

  • YOSHIHARA Jiro, Work
    1962
    Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

  • SHIMAMOTO Shozo, Work
    1954
    Ashiya City Museum of Art and History

  • TANAKA Atsuko, Electric Dress
    1956/86
    Takamatsu Art Museum
    Photograph: Kato Shigefumi
    ⒸKanayama Akira and Tanaka Atsuko Association

  • MATSUTANI Takesada, La Propagation 65-24
    1965
    The National Museum of Art, Osaka

  • MAEKAWA Tsuyoshi, Burlap, White
    1963
    Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka

  • SHIRAGA Kazuo, Tenbousei Ryoutouda (work inspired by Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan)
    1962
    The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

Integrating Gutai

Integration—The National Museum of Art OsakaGutai was initially a group of painters. And although the visual art practices of its artists became increasingly varied as time went by, tracing each practice back to its roots demonstrates that it was the result of aiming to become free of the constraints imposed by the conventions of painting. The issue was how to break down and reconstruct the painterliness of art. The novelty of the results depended on how painting (or painterliness) was understood, and whether attempts were made to produce paintings or pictures after breaking down the painterliness. At the National Museum of Art, Osaka, the exhibition looks at the course taken by Gutai from a macroscopic standpoint, attempting to identify trends in the various inquiries conducted by the Gutai artists. Gutai was not necessarily a monolithic entity, but the main aim here is to bring out the differences and attempt to integrate them into a unified whole.

The National Museum of Art Osaka

 

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Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka recreates, with new content, the International Sky Festival presented by the Gutai Art Association in 1960. Details will be announced on this page when finalized.