Bottle Crash, 1997 by Shozo Shimamoto

Year: 1997

Material: Mixed media on canvas with artist’s frame

Dimensions: 135 × 97 cm, frame included

Signature: Signed bottom right

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Shozo Shimamoto (Japanese, 1928 – 2013)

Co-founder of the Japanese avant-garde collective the Gutai Art Group in the 1950s, Shozo Shimamoto pioneered action painting, performance art, and mail art, with a prevailing concern for the tension between the element of chance and the artist’s control. Early in his career, while painting on newspaper, he accidentally punctured the surface—an entirely chance event that he would transform into a formal, repetitive operation. He began a career-long study of the violent encounter with the surface of the painting, primarily through the creation of holes and cuts. Painting in vivid color and forming abstract forms with irregularly patterned holes, Shimamoto found that his gestures left a record of the artist’s physical action and gave the image a performative element. He eventually expanded his practice into live performance, often staging the creation of his paintings for a live audience.