About this artwork
Shiraga Kazuo was one of the most widely known artists associated with the Gutai Art Association. Gutai (“concreteness” in Japanese) was formed in 1954 and swiftly became postwar Japan’s most significant avant-garde collective. In its manifesto the group advocated for an exuberant, ethically invested freedom of expression: “Gutai Art imparts life to matter.”
Shiraga once described the world as a “splendid playground.” He sought an unmediated form of painting, soon abandoning the traditional brush in order to paint with his feet, swinging himself from ropes over sheets of paper placed on the floor. The earliest of these pioneering works were made as part of live performances, but from 1959 Shiraga continued his practice on canvas and within his studio. This 1960 painting demonstrates the range of simultaneously sensuous and dynamic effects the artist could achieve through his singular method — slick, muscular smears of brighter and darker reds and oranges contrast with vigorous insertions of deep blue as well as with a fringe of more atmospheric stains of color. The title refers to the celebrated fourteenth-century Chinese novel Shuihu zhuan (Water Margin), which follows the feats of outlaw Song Jiang and his band of accomplices.
- Kazuo Shiraga
- Golden Wings Brushing the Clouds Incarnated from Earthly Wide Star (Chikatsusei Maunkinshi)
- Oil on canvas
- 130 × 195 cm (51 1/8 × 76 3/4 in.)
- Through prior purchase from the Mary and Leigh Block Fund, restricted gift of Barbara Bluhm-Kaul and Don Kaul.