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SHIRAGA Kazuo (1924-2008)


The Japanese postwar avant-garde group Gutai Art Association, which today has attained broad international renown, boldly experimented with new materials and techniques and prolifically produced dynamic, unprecedented works in the 1950s and 1960s, with the credo of “do what no one has done before.” Among its most prominent members was Kazuo Shiraga, who made vigorous paintings like this one by spreading canvas on the floor, hanging on a rope suspended from the ceiling, and sliding across the paint with his feet. This work is from his series inspired by Suikoden (Water Margin), one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. The ferocious splashes of paint, dominated by red tones, symbolize the red-armored figure of the legendary hero Wei Dingguo, known as the General of Holy Fire for his skill in setting foes ablaze.


Oil on canvas
160.0×193.7 cm