Murakami Saburo

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MURAKAMI SABURO
Through The 70's

Published in conjunction with an exhibition at ARTCOURT Gallery in Osaka, this broad survey explores the expression and diverse changes through the career of this central member of the Gutai Art Association. While his ‘Paper-Breaking’ events were internationally renowned as pioneering examples of performance art, his “individuality was embodied in his boldest and most unique methodologies” during the 1970s. The book therefore offers a particularly in-depth re-examination of his solo exhibitions and independent work in that period. Numerous paintings, photos, and film stills accompany critical essays, an interview by Kōzu Yoshinori, and texts by Saburō himself. Certainly in our opinion this is nicest monograph on Murakami Saburo.

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GUTAI:
Two And A Half Drops Of Bitters Extraordinary Tales Of Murakami Saburo

The author, the owner of a Bar Metamorphose which sought to emulate Cabaret Voltaire in Nishinomiya, Japan, reminisces about the time he spent with a frequent guest, the Guati artist Saburo Murakami, well known for his “breakthrough” works. The episodic adventures of the artist are told to reveal his singular personality. The work is full of little gems like this one: “One day, I asked Murakami, ‘People talk about Dada and Gutai and Abstract Expressionism, but aren’t they just offshoots of Surrealism?’ He turned his plump face up and, glaring at me, said, ‘No, no, no! You’re totally wrong. Gutai is Gutai, and Surrealism is Surrealism.’” There is also a section of remarks by various people given at Murakami’s Memorial Exhibiton at the bar on January 5, 2006. A “Murakami Saburo Chronology” is also included, accompanied by photographs of the artist’s life and works.

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GUTAI:
The Spirit of an Era


The 2012 exhibition catalog from the National Art Center, Tokyo, documenting the first Tokyo retrospective of Gutai works covering all it’s periods. In his essay, “Gutai: A Utopia of the Modern Spirit,” editor Shoichi discusses the reasons for the movements four decade omission from Tokyo artistic investigation. The author argues that while Tokyo dismissed Gutai, it was equally misunderstood in the West. Underlying all of these misgivings was Yoshihara’s desire for the emergence of a new spirit after war torn Japan. “It seems that Yoshihara truly believed that pursuing new horizons in art was connected to the liberation of the spirit and would help people live a better life in turbulent times as well as contributing to the development of the human race as a whole…If Yoshihara believed that art would force Japan, after its military defeat, to become a modern nation of the sort that it was destined to be before the war, and a country that could engage in discourse on equal terms with the West based on a shared set of values, one might also say that Gutai offered him a practical means of achieving the goal of a ‘Utopia of the modern spirit’ that was thoroughly characteristic of someone who had been steeped in the liberalism of the ‘20s…” Other essays include Yukako Yamada’s, “Approaching the Finale: The Osaka Expo,” which traces the evolution of Gutai’s parting gesture, and “From Ashiya to Amsterdam: Gutai’s Exhibition Spaces,” by Naoki Yoneda, which discusses various Gutai exhibitions both at home and abroad, but focuses on the architectural space of the Gutai Pinachotheca. The main text breaks the movement into early, middle and later periods, with extensive photo documentation of each. English translations are provided at the conclusion of the work, as is a “Gutai Chronology,” and “Biographical Sketches of the Artists,” as well as a complete listing of works in the exhibition.

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