Japan: The New Art

Contributor(s): Michael Blackwood Productions (Firm) [dst] | Kanopy (Firm) [dst]Publisher number: 1184835 | KanopyPublisher: Michael Blackwood Productions, 1976Publisher: [San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016Description: 1 online resource (streaming video file) (29 minutes): digital, .flv file, soundContent type: two-dimensional moving image Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceSubject(s): Art | Documentary-style films | Asian StudiesGenre/Form: Asian Studies | Documentary films Online resources: A Kanopy streaming video | Cover Image Summary: "There is no longer Japanese art, only Japanese artists. In the 1950s one could find Japanese qualities in the work of our abstract painters, but with Pop Art young artists felt liberated from the past and in the reality of the actual world. I am interested in the new generation of artists.". Filmed with ten artists and selected five for "JAPAN The New Art".. One was the Gutai group. It was one of the most important art movements and artist groups in postwar Japan. The Gutai, which means 'concreteness', was founded by Jiro Yoshihara, in Ashiya City in 1954. Yoshihara promoted a bold and spirited anti-academicism by encouraging Gutai members to "create what has never existed before." In his manifesto of Gutai art, he has written: "Gutai Art does not alter the material. Gutai Art gives life to the material. Gutai Art does not distort the material. In Gutai Art, the human spirit and the material shake hands but keep being in conflict with each other. The material never assimilates itself into the spirit. The spirit never subordinates the material. When the material exposes its characteristics remaining intact, it starts telling a story and even screaming out. To make the fullest use of the material is to make use of the spirit. To enhance the spirit is to lead the material to the high sphere of the spirit.". Jiro Takamatsu, a conceptual artist, has also hugely influenced Japanese contemporary art after the 1960s. Takamatsu proclaimed himself "anti-artist", and engaged in wide-range art forms including painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and happening-performance. Takamatsu explored the conceptual gap between perception and existence.. In the late 60s a new art movement emerged, "Mono-ha" ('object school'). Rejecting the 'Anti-art' attitudes of the Gutai and other avant-garde movements in Japan, Mono-ha artists tried to create a new Japanese art by shutting out all illusion from the means of artistic expression and returning to objects per se. Mono-ha artists chose stones, wood, sheets of paper and iron plates as their materials, and juxtaposed them to create new relationships between each object or between objects and the spaces surrounding them. The theories of "Mono-ha" were conceptualized and developed by Nobuo Sekine and Ufan Lee.. Katuhiko Narita, sculptor, who is sometimes categorized as a Mono-ha artist, was renowned for his work using Sumi, Japanese charcoal. In addition to the materiality, he was interested in Sumi itself, seeing it as ruins of prosperity. By eliminating the act of creation, he emphasized the materiality and physicality of the material.. In the film, Tono also introduces three young artists, Shingo Honda, Susumu Koshimizu, and Keiji Yabe, who belong to a newer generation of Japanese contemporary art at the time. Their main interest was in the transformative process of things or the existence of things per se, rather than artistic self-expression through materials. In the film they showed experimental work using stones and a sheet of paper on the riverside.. Although Japanese artists were much influenced by European and American art and philosophy, and these movements shared some similarities with foreign art movements such as Minimalist Art and Process Art in the United States, these artists were challenged to create a unique Japanese art without following the developments in European and American avant-garde art..
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Originally produced by Michael Blackwood Productions in 1976.

"There is no longer Japanese art, only Japanese artists. In the 1950s one could find Japanese qualities in the work of our abstract painters, but with Pop Art young artists felt liberated from the past and in the reality of the actual world. I am interested in the new generation of artists.". Filmed with ten artists and selected five for "JAPAN The New Art".. One was the Gutai group. It was one of the most important art movements and artist groups in postwar Japan. The Gutai, which means 'concreteness', was founded by Jiro Yoshihara, in Ashiya City in 1954. Yoshihara promoted a bold and spirited anti-academicism by encouraging Gutai members to "create what has never existed before." In his manifesto of Gutai art, he has written: "Gutai Art does not alter the material. Gutai Art gives life to the material. Gutai Art does not distort the material. In Gutai Art, the human spirit and the material shake hands but keep being in conflict with each other. The material never assimilates itself into the spirit. The spirit never subordinates the material. When the material exposes its characteristics remaining intact, it starts telling a story and even screaming out. To make the fullest use of the material is to make use of the spirit. To enhance the spirit is to lead the material to the high sphere of the spirit.". Jiro Takamatsu, a conceptual artist, has also hugely influenced Japanese contemporary art after the 1960s. Takamatsu proclaimed himself "anti-artist", and engaged in wide-range art forms including painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and happening-performance. Takamatsu explored the conceptual gap between perception and existence.. In the late 60s a new art movement emerged, "Mono-ha" ('object school'). Rejecting the 'Anti-art' attitudes of the Gutai and other avant-garde movements in Japan, Mono-ha artists tried to create a new Japanese art by shutting out all illusion from the means of artistic expression and returning to objects per se. Mono-ha artists chose stones, wood, sheets of paper and iron plates as their materials, and juxtaposed them to create new relationships between each object or between objects and the spaces surrounding them. The theories of "Mono-ha" were conceptualized and developed by Nobuo Sekine and Ufan Lee.. Katuhiko Narita, sculptor, who is sometimes categorized as a Mono-ha artist, was renowned for his work using Sumi, Japanese charcoal. In addition to the materiality, he was interested in Sumi itself, seeing it as ruins of prosperity. By eliminating the act of creation, he emphasized the materiality and physicality of the material.. In the film, Tono also introduces three young artists, Shingo Honda, Susumu Koshimizu, and Keiji Yabe, who belong to a newer generation of Japanese contemporary art at the time. Their main interest was in the transformative process of things or the existence of things per se, rather than artistic self-expression through materials. In the film they showed experimental work using stones and a sheet of paper on the riverside.. Although Japanese artists were much influenced by European and American art and philosophy, and these movements shared some similarities with foreign art movements such as Minimalist Art and Process Art in the United States, these artists were challenged to create a unique Japanese art without following the developments in European and American avant-garde art..

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