Kazuo Shiraga (1924-2008)
signed in Japanese (lower left); stamped with the artist's signature in Japanese (on the reverse)
oil on card
10⅝ x 9½in. (27 x 24cm.)
Executed after 1970s
Private Collection.
Anon. sale, SBI Art Auction Tokyo, 8 December 2012, lot 103.
Private Collection, Austria (acquired at the above sale).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
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Lot Essay

With its rich, textural collisions of red, blue and orange, Untitled offers a powerful close-range view of Kazuo Shiraga’s dynamic painterly technique. A member of the influential Japanese Gutai movement between 1954 and 1972, Shiraga pioneered a new mode of action painting, using his body – most notably his feet – to manipulate pigment into thick, marbled rivers. Combining the influence of Western Abstract Expressionism with ideas drawn from Eastern philosophy, Shiraga sought to explore the connection between the flesh and the psyche, creating an art form situated between painting and performance art. Here, the material properties of pigment combine with the subconscious impulses of the body: a union that lay at heart of Gutai.

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