Jan 18, 2009

Shinohara Ushio

In 1960s, Japanese art was witnessing the emergence of Gutai Group as the tour de force for the coming years. But parallel to this, another group of artists were working in Japan then, the influence of whom was to be felt later after 1999. This was the neo-Dadaist group led by Shinohara Ushio.

While Gutai Group's emphasis was deconstruction of beauty, Shinohara Ushio was taking art even a step further: "art without a planned form". Ushio introduced himself with his action paintings, like boxing paintings, where Ushio wore boxing gloves dipped in paints and punched them on canvas randomly. soon such eccentric performnaces of Ushio became popular, though nobody knew what to do with the final products of such performances.

But as an artist Shinohara Ushio had to make something saleable. So he created the Junk Motorcycle series, where he took trashed motorcycles and created sculptures and installations.

Shinohara Ushio’s thought was not new but something directly imported from America. Like most Japanese youth during this time, he became fascinated by the American culture and his art was similar in many ways to what American artists like jackson Pollock had once done. Thus Shinohara Ushio was seen as an East meets West ideal.

Shinohara was not initially appreciated in Japan, but it was in USA that he became popular. Shinohara lived in New York for a very long time before returning to Tokyo.

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