"Art Means Surprising People"
Shozo Shimamoto (1928-2013) was a founding member of the Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai (Art Association of Gutai) and was active on the world stage as an avant-garde artist.
Known for his large-scale performance-driven creative activity, Shimamoto is widely appreciated in the west for his unprecedented means of expression. His unique approach is exemplified in works such as the "cannon paintings," which were created by using gas to shoot pigment out of metal piping and also by the "bottle-throwing paintings," which involved throwing pigment filled bottles from a high location.
In 1998, Shimamoto was chosen as one of the world's four best artists from the post-war era together with Jackson Pollock, John Cage, and Lucio Fontana. Works from all four artists were displayed at the exhibition "Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979" organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.
As the administrative chief of the AU (formerly Artist Union; later Art Unidentified), which was found in 1976, Shimano worked tirelessly to nurture the development of young artists, while at the same time acting as the head of the Japan Art and Culture Society of Disabled-Persons (now Able Art Japan).
With an approach steeped in originality and a perspective that valued diversity and individuality, Shimamoto is still highly acclaimed by the current generation. This approach is now being carried forward by the artists of the AU.
The Tate Modern (London), Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (Roma, Italy), Pompidou Centre (Paris), Ca’ Pesaro (Venice, Italy), Fondazione Morra (Naples, Italy), etc.