Norio Imai Retrospective – Reflection and Projection

2014.7.8[tue] – 8.2[sat] 11:00 - 19:00 (Saturdays 11:00 - 17:00 / July 25th 11:00 -17:00) Closed on Sundays, Mondays, National holidays

ARTCOURT Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Norio Imai Retrospective - Reflection and Projection.
After the breakup of “Gutai” in 1972, Imai’s work strengthened its conceptual tendencies. Shifting from his prior explorations
of spatial expression through white forms toward an interest in non-material image projection, Imai began experimenting with
multifaceted visualizations of time, using photography to cut out moments of time, film to capture the flow of time, and video,
with its capacity for simultaneous replay.
This exhibition offers a look back at this artist’s undertakings in photography and projection media over an approximately
ten-year period, with an emphasis on his works from the 1970s.


At the time around 1970, all the news programs and dramas and commercials on television were still shot on film,
which the editors had to do the painstaking work of cutting with splicers, and gluing together.

Unlike videotape, film was a thing that was expended in direct relation to the amount of time the camera was run,
and of course a lot of that film ended up being thrown out. I got a large amount of it. For the “Image Expression ’72”
exhibition at Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, I cut up a lot of that film and spread it all over the floor, and also stuck
some into a slide mount and projected it onto the wall. Here, film was a material severed from its societal and
commercial connections, and stripped of its functions as a medium – and from the “site” where this had occurred,
there were not a few visitors who took home some of those fragments of images. Then, at “Image Expression ’73”,

I “screened” Jointed Film, which I had made by randomly connecting those fragments of a few frames each,
which had been stepped on by the shoes of the visitors at the exhibition the previous year. A dizzying array of
unrelated images flit across the screen, some flipped upside-down or backwards, and some in black-and-white,
images from all manner of sources, from city scenes to historical dramas, nature programs and commercials.
Parts of the magnetic stripe on the edge of the film produce intermittent sounds mixed with unintelligible words
spoken in a foreign language. On the whole, I’d say the piece is rather tiring on the eyes. But I’ve noticed that
within this fragmentary assortment of images, with its impressions of once-popular celebrities, bell-bottoms,
bowling scenes and such, there is an unmistakably early-1970s-period sensibility that is being conveyed.

Is this a bunch of information society wreckage that is being preserved in an art package and endowed
with different values?



Norio Imai - Gutai and Later Work
First release on July 19, 2014

This book showcases Norio Imai’s works from 1960's and 1970's.

Title: Norio Imai - Gutai and Later Work
Essays by Axel Vervoordt, Ming Tiampo, Midori Yoshimoto
Interview by Shoichi Hirai
Edited and published by ARTCOURT Gallery / Yagi Art Management, Inc.
B5. Color. Text in Japanese and English.
Price: JPY 2,000 + tax


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Norio Imai