Kazuo Shiraga, ‘Kokuyou’, Christie's

Kazuo Shiraga (1924-2008)

Kokuyou

signed in Japanese 'Shiraga Kazuo' (lower left); titled in Japanese 'Kokuyou' (on the reverse)

oil on canvas

36 x 46 in. (91.4 x 116.8 cm.)

Painted in 1991.

Signature: signed in Japanese 'Shiraga Kazuo' (lower left); titled in Japanese 'Kokuyou' (on the reverse)

Kaibundo Gallery, Kobe

Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1991

About Kazuo Shiraga

For Kazuo Shiraga, a painting was defined by the gestures of its creation. He famously used non-traditional techniques to make his works, including performances using parts or the entirety of his body as a tool. In his famous piece, Challenging Mud (1955), Shiraga created an ephemeral form by wrestling with a mixture made from wall plaster and cement, causing injury to his body in the process. The majority of Shiraga’s work, however, was rendered on canvas via diverse methods, from dripping paints to painting with his feet. Speaking of his work, Shiraga once said that he wanted to make paintings “as slippery, as uncatchable as a sea cucumber, […] a painting with no center.” Shiraga was a founding member of the Zero Group; in 1952, he joined the Gutai Group and was active through its disbandment.

Japanese, 1924-2008, Amagasaki, Japan