KEWENIG presents 'Room #7' with two large canvases, 'Untitled' (2016), by Japanese artist Sadaharu Horio (1939 - 2018, Kobe). The presentation is part of KEWENIG’s exhibition format '12 Rooms', a monthly rotating artist programme in the enclosed room between the gallery and the adjacent building.
Sadaharu Horio is one of the most revolutionary Japanese artists of the 20th Century. His radical approach to art-making including performance, installation and painting in the 1960s and 1970s laid the groundwork for modern Kobe performance art and successive conceptual art movements such as Fluxus. As a member of the postwar avant-garde Gutai Art Association (1954-1972) since the mid 1960s, Sadaharu Horio – inspired by Gutai founder Jiro Yoshihara to reject all traditional styles and developments abroad to "Engage in the newness!“ – forged a practice of perpetuate innovation in consonance with his core belief that art and everyday life are inseparable. He pursued Gutai’s supreme value of originality in the non-figurative, through the speed of gestures and the continuous change of styles and mediums – a methodology which would allow him to free his work from any conscious interferences and intellectual assumptions, it to be "a matter of course“ (atarimae no koto). Despite the lack of adherence to any particular style, throughout his career Horio maintained stringent ritualistic practices, resulting in a myriad of serial artworks such as his iconic ironuri ("paint placements") or "one-minute hitting method" works, generated through the routine of placing one layer of paint on one object each morning, and the daily action of executing a drawing in less than a minute, respectively.
The works on view in 'Room #7' – composed of crinkled Echizen washi paper overpainted with black and red oil respectively – pertain to Horio’s body of work that incorporates found materials such as wood, stones, roots, scrap metal, string, leather, and crates – all selected ad libitum in his immediate environment in order to discharge them of rational thought and shift the focus towards the materials’ true nature. As a typical feature of Horio, the paintings combine, on the one hand, a traditional spirit stemming from Zen Buddhism – a connection with "the self as creator“ resonating through the substance of matter itself, on the other, a modern attitude originating from Gutai by means of absolute freedom in composition and medium, procedure over perfection.°
After the dissolution of Gutai in 1972, Horio remained remarkably active, taking up more than one hundred projects annually. While his work was repeatedly featured at reputable institutions in Japan such as the Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Kobe and Osaka Contemporary Art Center since the 70s, his legacy has only recently received international attention – notably with his biannual participation in the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice since 2009, and the exhibition ‘Gutai: Splendid Playground, performance’ at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013). Other international exhibitions include the Fifteenth Gutai Art Exhibition, Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka (1965); Kyoto Independents (1985); the Yokohama Triennial (2005); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2012).