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TEFAF Spring 2018

04.05.2018 - 08.05.2018/General
TEFAF Spring 2018
Masatoshi MASANOBU, Work, 1968. Oil on cloth and board, 181,5 x 121,5 cm
One of the highlights is this work by Masatoshi Masanobu.

What's Gutai about Masatoshi Masanobu? A Gutai member from its founding moment to its final hour, Masanobu Masatoshi is ironically perceived by some as anomalous due to the fact that his work does not fit into the popular perception of Gutai. By most measures, however, he was a highly regarded and very successful participant in the Gutai group and represented an important tendency in painting that's sometimes underappreciated. In addition to being a longstanding member, he was chosen for two of the group's special honours: participation in the 1960 International Sky Festival, and in 1965, a solo show at the Gutai Pinacotheca.

Masanobu first met Gutai group leader Jiro Yoshihara in 1948 or 1949, when he began attending a public art class being offered by Yoshihara in Kobe. In 1951, under Yoshihara's tutelage, Masanobu painted Lakeside (1951), an important early landscape work where he began exploring abstraction, and for the first time used the pale yellow that would permeate his work throughout his career. Here, the yellow is applied in layers to define a circle, creating a luminosity in movement that reads perhaps as a moon or a sun reflected in water. This quality of shimmering light, of life-imbued paint that exceeds its simplicity of form, is central to Masanobu's work, and is the key to understanding the artist's committed approach to Gutai's earliest core principles.

This is an excerpt from a text written by Ming Tiampo on the occasion of the monograph 'Masatoshi Masanobu' that was be published following the artist's solo exhibition at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp (2 February to 4 March 2017). Ming Tiampo is professor at the Carleton University of Ottawa, Canada. In 2013, she was the co-curator of the exhibition 'Gutai: Splendid Playground' at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, USA.
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