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Article

(b Nagoya, July 6, 1936; d New York, NY, May 18, 2010).

Japanese painter, performance artist, and film maker, active in the USA. He studied medicine and mathematics at Tokyo University (1954–8) and art at the Musashino College of Art in Tokyo, holding his first one-man exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in 1958 and contributing to the Yomiuri Independent exhibitions from 1958 to 1961. In 1960 he took part in the ‘anti-art’ activities of the Neo-Dadaism Organizers in Tokyo and produced his first Happenings and a series of sculptures entitled Boxes, which consisted of amorphous lumps of cotton wads hardened in cement; many of these were put in coffin-like boxes, though one entitled Foetus was laid on a blanket. In pointing to the sickness of contemporary society, these works caused a great scandal in Tokyo.

In 1961 Arakawa settled in New York, where soon afterwards he addressed himself to the idea of a work being ‘untitled’. In taking as his subject this apparent lack of subject, he emphasized the areas of the picture surface where the subject ‘ought to be’ by means of a few well-placed coloured framing marks, as in ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

Gu Mei  

Chinese, 20th century, female.

Born 1934, in Canton, in Suzhou.

Actress, painter, singer, draughtsman, watercolourist. Landscapes.

Koo Mei moved to Hong Kong in 1950, where she studied traditional ink painting with Zhao Shao-ang and modern ink painting with Lü Shoukun. Later she moved to Vancouver, where she lives and works. She specialises in misty, dreamlike landscapes....

Article

Stephen Addiss

[Uragami Hitsu; Ki Tasuku; Gyokudō, Ryosai]

(b Ikeda, Bizen Province [now Okayama Prefect.], 1745; d Kyoto, 1820).

Japanese Musician, painter, poet and calligrapher. Although he was more famous in his lifetime as a musician and little appreciated as an artist, Gyokudō has come to be considered one of Japan’s great painters in the literati painting tradition (Jap. Bunjinga or Nanga; see Japan §VI 4., (vi), (d)) and his rough, bold works are among Japan’s most powerful and individualistic artistic expressions. He belonged to the third generation of Japanese literati artists, who returned to painting in a more Sinophile, orthodox manner in contrast to the more unorthodox, Japanese approach of second-generation masters such as Ike Taiga and Yosa Buson.

He was born to a samurai-official family, and in 1752, a year after his father died, he took up the Ikeda clan duties. He received a Confucian-style education and as a youth studied the Chinese zither (qin). He was skilled both as a player and composer on this subtle instrument. The creative processes that he developed for composition, particularly with respect to asymmetry and repetition, were transferred to the calligraphy and painting of his later years. He took his art name (...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Painter, decorative artist, installation artist, performance artist. Multimedia.

Hibino Katsuhito graduated from the design division of the fine arts department of Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music in 1982. He takes part in group exhibitions. He took part in the Sixth Sydney Biennial, and exhibited his work in a one-man show at Hajuku, Japan, in ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Active from 1975 in the USA.

Born 20 February 1937, in Tokyo.

Painter, performance artist.

Iimura moved to New York in 1975, after numerous visits. Particularly interested in video, which enabled him to associate images and language, he took part in a large number of group exhibitions: in ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Active from 1977 in France.

Born 1935, in Isé.

Painter, draughtsman, performance artist.

Imamura works in series, the most notable of which are probably Zenon and Quark. To very fluid oils he adds raw pigments. On smooth backgrounds, in opposition to transparent effects, line drawings appear, structuring the medium and producing a microcosm. In works from the mid-1990s he has shown an interest in African art, introducing figures from the sculptures of the Mumuyés, a people of northern Nigeria....

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Yasuyoshi Saito

(b Hyōgo Prefect., Feb 23, 1935; d Tokyo, Nov 12, 1990).

Japanese painter, sculptor, performance artist and teacher, active in Japan and France. In 1958 he graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and in 1961 he exhibited Proliferating Chain Reaction in the Fundamental Body of the X Form (scrubbing brush, rope, iron, 1960; Tokyo, Met. A. Mus.) at the Gendai bijutsu no jikken ten (Exhibition of experiments in modern art) at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. A year later he left Japan and settled in Paris; in the same year, using numerous phallic objects, he carried out the Impotent Philosophy ceremony (see 1986 exh. cat., p. 352). In 1968 he exhibited Praise of the Younger Generation—The Cocoon Opens (assemblage, 1968; Tokyo, Met. A. Mus.) at the Salon de Mai. In 1969 Kudō returned temporarily to Japan and created a large relief mural at Nokogiriyama, Chiba Prefecture, entitled Monument to Moulting (1969–70). In 1977...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA 1960–1975 (naturalised in 1966).

Born 1929, in Nagano.

Painter, sculptor, installation artist, performance artist.

Yayoi Kusama graduated from the Kyoto school of fine arts in 1949. She moved to New York in 1957, where she enrolled in the Art Students League and became active in anti-war demonstrations and newspaper and film production. Her film ...

Article

Midori Yamamura

(b Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefect., March 22, 1929).

Japanese painter, sculptor, poet, writer, printmaker, installation, and performance artist, active also in the USA.

Growing up under Japan’s World War II totalitarian regime, Kusama believed art could help her nurture a more humane worldview. She began taking private art lessons at the age of 13. Between 1952 and 1955, she had six solo exhibitions. In 1955 Kusama wrote to artists Kenneth Callahan and Georgia O’Keeffe in the United States and Callahan helped organize her first United States solo exhibition in Seattle (1957).

After Seattle, Kusama moved to New York in 1958, where she launched her career alongside the second generation Abstract Expressionists. In 1959 she developed a series of paintings called Infinity Nets; large horizontal works featuring obsessively repeated small arcs. At solo exhibitions in New York (1959, Brata Gallery; 1961, Stephen Radich Gallery), she only showed white, wall-sized works from the series. Appearing void from a distance, her huge paintings forced viewers to come closer, disallowing their objectification, while permitting each viewer an intimate experience. These works made a strong impression on the New York scene, with Frank Stella and a future Minimalist Donald Judd buying her works....

Article

Korean, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1964, in Yongwol.

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, draughtswoman.

Lee Bul graduated from Hong-Ik University in Seoul with a bachelor of fine arts in sculpture. She settled in Seoul. Lee seeks to explore feminine archetypes by creating a universe inhabited by monsters and imaginary creatures based on Korean legends and contemporary technology (notably cyborgs), or manga imagery. She has also used her own nude body in her performances. Whether making unliveable, solitary cubicles - as in her karaoke pods - or strolling about in one or other of her outlandish costumes, she tries to destabilise established values through her objects and creatures. For instance, in her sculpture ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Beijing.

Born 1969, in Huangshi (Hubei Province), China.

Painter, photographer, performance artist.

Ma Liuming graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in Wuhan in 1991. Ma is best known as a member of the Beijing East Village collective, which worked on the outskirts of Beijing in the early 1990s. A pioneer of performance art in China, Ma focused his practice on issues of gender and sexuality through the use of his own body. During his time in the East Village, Ma developed a feminine alter ego, Fen-Ma Liuming. His performances primarily focused on domestic activities and often featured the act of cooking, such as in ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1922, in Ueno (Mie); died 3 October 2011.

Painter, performance artist.

Gutai group.

Motonaga studied with Mankichi Hamabe from 1946 to 1952, and became a disciple of Jiro Yoshihara in 1955. He was a member of the Concrete Art Association...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1933, in Tokyo.

Painter, sculptor, performance artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

After settling in New York, Yoko Ono initially took an active role in the Fluxus group, organising concerts (particularly of La Monte Young) and putting up artists from the group (George Brecht, Allan Kaprow, George Segal). After marrying the singer John Lennon of the Beatles, she broke off from her own activities as an artist and took part in demonstrations for peace and for the emancipation of women. Following the assassination of her husband, she returned to her work as an artist....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, female.

Born 1929, in Sabae-Shi.

Draughtswoman, collage artist, photomontage artist, performance artist. Artists’ books.

Fluxus.

After studying in Japan, Takako Saito went to the USA in 1963 where she made the acquaintance of George Maciunas and completed her education at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. In ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Seattle, WA, 1939).

American painter of Japanese ancestry (sansei or third generation). The subjects in Shimomura’s paintings, prints and performances have largely stemmed from his personal experience of living as an ethnic minority in the Midwest and his grandmother’s diaries chronicling her immigration and adjustment to the USA in the early 20th century. By incorporating the seemingly disparate images from the historical and contemporary sources, Shimomura has presented captivating visual essences that bespeak of the multi-generational experience not only of Japanese–Americans, but also of Asian Americans. His works constituted significant critiques of the racial prejudices deeply rooted in the American society, alarming the viewer that the roots of prejudice could be found in all individuals.

At age three, Shimomura’s earliest visual memory was formed in Camp Minidoka in the southern Idaho desert, where he and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese–Americans, were detained from 1942 to 1944. Shimomura’s distant memory was revived after reading his grandmother’s diaries, which offered the ground narratives for many series of paintings: ...

Article

Zhong Hong

[Li Shu-t’ung; Wen Tao; hao Guanghou, Shutong; Xianying, Hongyi fashi]

(b Tainjin, Oct 23, 1880; d Quanzhou, Fujian Province, Oct 13, 1942)

Chinese painter, calligrapher, art educator and musician. A colourful and influential figure in the history of 20th-century Chinese art, he pioneered the introduction of Western arts, including commercial art, woodcut printmaking, modern drama and music, into China.

Li Shutong became interested in Western art at the Nanyang Public School in Shanghai. In 1905 he entered the Tokyo School of Fine Art in Ueno Park, where he studied oil painting under Kuroda Seiki, a leading Japanese painter trained in Paris. While in Tokyo he also attended piano courses at a music school. A lover of the theatre, he wrote some of the first modern dialogue plays in Chinese and put them on stage with fellow Chinese students. Back in China in 1910, Li taught graphic art at a technical college in Tianjin. From the following year he taught art and music in a girls’ school in Shanghai, where he later founded Wenmeihui (Literature and Art Society) and became for a short time art and literature editor of the ...

Article

(b Wuchang, Hubei, China, July 14, 1894; d Stockholm, Nov 7, 1958).

Swedish painter, mosaic maker and stage designer. He moved to Sweden in 1907 where he sporadically attended a painting school. In 1914 Sköld went to Copenhagen where, as well as attending the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, he saw the Expressionist and Cubist works in the Tetzen-Lund Samling. After initially being influenced by Cézanne, he experimented with Cubism, producing such works as The Changing of the Guard in Copenhagen (1917; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.) in which the figures are fragmented into a series of overlapping planes. In 1918 he also experimented with collage, producing such works as Romantic Still-life (Comte Costia) (1918; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.). In 1919 he moved to Paris and in 1922 co-founded the Phalanx group with Birger Simonsson (1883–1938). His painting at this time was executed in a stylized but essentially realistic manner, as in The Bistro (1920; Oslo, N.G.). He also painted a number of detailed architectural views, often curiously framed in the composition, as in ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, female.

Born 1932, in Osaka.

Painter, draughtswoman, installation artist, performance artist. Wall decorations.

Neo-Dadaism.

Groups: Zero, Gutai.

After graduating from art college in Kyoto, Atsuko Tanaka went on to study under the direction of Jiro Yoshihara. Already a member of the Zero...