Kazuo Shiraga

Kazuo Shiraga was born in 1924 and was an abstract-expressionist painter. He joined the Gutai movement in 1954 after becoming frustrated with the traditional Japanese style of painting Nihon-ga, which he studied at school. He began his experimental painting at the Gendai Bijutsu Kondankai (Contemporary Art Discussion Group) and explored oil painting with the use of his hands and fingers. Shiraga found new freedom in the art medium, and enjoyed the consistency and texture much more compared to the thin ink-based pigments that was found in traditional Japanese painting. Gutai leader, Jiro Yoshihara, inspired Shiraga and in turn pushed him to create work that has never existed before. From this, Shiraga began performance painting, a key element to the Gutai movement. Shiraga began to paint using his full body in some performances and continued to explore the relationship between body and material. Shiraga is most noted for his foot print paintings that he made into his 80s, which revolve around Japanese, Chinese, and Buddhist themes.

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