Masatoshi Masanobu: In Commemoration of the Publication of MASATOSHI MASANOBU

2018.01.09 [tue] - 02.03 [sat] 11:00-19:00 (Saturdays 11:00am-5:00pm) Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

We would like to announce a solo exhibition commemorating the publication of Masatoshi Masanobu,* a monograph on the work of Gutai Art Association (Gutai) member Masatoshi Masanobu (1911-1995). Artcourt Gallery will prepare a booklet containing Japanese translations of essays featured in this monograph, and will present works by Masanobu from the 1950s to the 1970s in an attempt at retracing this artist’s evolution of free and original expressions over a period of approximately thirty years, from his work pre-Gutai to his activity following the group’s dissolution.

“Rather than reproducing what is visible on the outside, to delve the internal spiritual aspects (tune in to them), by way of intervals and slight touches and rhythms and unheard-of sensibilities...” (August 1958, from a note by Masanobu)

Starting with his early activities as an artist prior to WWII, Masanobu’s painting underwent various changes over the ensuing decades, from his production in the 1940s of primarily landscape and still life works, to his early-50s abstract expressions of disassembled and reconstructed geometric forms, to the surfaces he explored through the mid-50s that are filled with matière and a sense of weight and mass. After this, he began to establish a unique painting oeuvre through his activities in Gutai, and from the mid-50s through the 60s, he continued to develop his expressions of accumulated brush touches and strokes.

Masanobu presented work at the first Genbi exhibition in 1953 and participated in the formation of Gutai in 1954. Subsequently, he maintained a high level of activity, showing new pieces at the Babel Exhibition, which focused on the work of young Western-style painters, and the Seikatsu Zokei Exhibition and other presentations, and then in 1965, a solo exhibition of his work was held at Gutai Pinacotheca in Osaka. Masanobu continually confronted the issues inherent in painting while practicing modes of production that conformed to oil painting’s basic principles, and his presence in Gutai, which was widely recognized for its experimental performances and actions and its expressions in painting incorporating new materials, is a testament to the breadth of the Gutai group, which was referred to as avant-garde.

“An art with a fresh, true sense of life, and which is a direct expression of that; or an ever-tranquil world, and the shaping of a true sense of life, that has all that expression held within it.” (December 1958, from a note by Masanobu)

In the monograph Masatoshi Masanobu, the art historian Ming Tiampo states, “Masanobu’s works operate in complex conversation with post-war International Abstraction, Gutai, and East Asian Literati tradition.”
This exhibition will present Masanobu’s output starting in the early 1950s, including structural abstract paintings and depictions of figures based on his own creations of human forms, and continue with pieces shown at his solo exhibition at Gutai Pinacotheca, and even works that were released in the 70s, after the dissolution of Gutai. We hope you will enjoy the world of this artist, with its boundless spatial expressions and true-to-life sensibility.

* Masatoshi Masanobu, 2017, published by Axel Vervoordt Gallery (Belgium)

Related events

  • 01.09 [tue] 18:00 - 19:00
    Tomio Sugaya (Senior researcher at Osaka City Museum of Modern Art Planning Office)
  • 01.09 [tue] 19:00 - 20:00

  • *RSVP is required for the talk. Please email, or call +81(0)6-6354-5444. *Free admission


Masatoshi Masanobu