Saburo Murakami: Focus on the 70s

2011.11.12 [sat] – 12.17 [sun] 11:00-19:00(Saturdays 11:00-17:00) Closed on Sundays, Mondays

As a core member of the Gutai Art Association (hereafter, Gutai) in the mid-'50s, Saburo Murakami (1925-1996) was dedicated to avant-garde attitudes such as critically deviating from various forms of expression of the past, expanding the creative framework, and producing new modes of art. At the same time, while continually pursuing a unique perspective in regard to the link between the self and the outside world, the act of creating art, and the relationship between the work and others, Murakami developed his own type of expression.

Murakami's highly diverse body of work ranges from the well-known "paper-breakthrough" (kami-yaburi) performances and "ball-throwing paintings" (tokyu-kaiga), and the many paintings he created during the late '50s and '60s, to the series that emerged in the '70s following Gutai's breakup which recalls conceptual art and makes use of a minimal technique. His work exudes an enigmatic air that seems impossible to grasp with a single interpretation while conveying a penetrating impression that seems to be lined with a consistent philosophy and fixed methodology. By appearing to contain a single underlying thesis in the overall display or creating the sense that the exhibition in itself was intended as a single work, Murakami's series of solo shows in the '70s in particular indicate that the artist's specific concerns were embodied in an increasingly lucid form.

Focusing on the seven solo shows that Murakami held between 1971 and 1977, this exhibition looks back at a period in the artist's career that has received relatively little attention in comparison to his work of the Gutai era. We have adopted a multifaceted approach in order to examine the content of each exhibition and trace Murakami's production activities at the time through his own handwritten memos and notes, photographs, and the works and objects which were created according to certain rules established before or during each event. Moreover, by presenting some ten newly restored paintings created between the early '50s and the late '70s, documentary footage of a "paper breakthroughs" dating to the early Gutai era, reedited versions of performances and an interview from the late '80s and early '90s as well as the aforementioned works and materials from the '70s, we hope to provide viewers with an opportunity to reconsider and reexamine the life and ideas Murakami pursued throughout his approximately 50-year career, problems related to the creation of art, and the methodologies that underlie the creative expressions that he developed and transformed in a variety of ways.

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Saburo Murakami