Do What Has Never Been Done Before: The Art of Radical, Post-War Collective GUTAI (具體)

Why We Recommend it

This exhibition features works of Japan’s most significant avant-garde collective of the postwar era, as well as creations by contemporaries who cross-pollinated ideas with the Gutai Art Association.


“It is our desire to embody the fact that our spirit is free. It is also our hope that no restrictions will be placed on the desire to experience fresh sensations through every form of expression,”

– Gutai Manifesto, 1956

Co-founded in 1954 by Japanese artists Shozo Shimamoto and Jiro Yoshihara, Gutai (具體, ’embodiment’ and concreteness’) was a pioneering collective of young and radical artists. The group is best known for its restless pursuit of individualism, creativity and an experimental approach to art. Their works, which combine performance, painting and environmental installations, explore the relationships between body, matter, time and space.

By the time the group disbanded in 1972, Gutai had fostered relationships and staged collaborative exhibitions with notable Western artists, including Guiseppe Capogrossi, Sam Francis, John Cage, Alfred Leslie and Georges Mathieu.

This exhibition, entitled Gutai-Jin (具體人, ‘Gutai people’) in Hong Kong, shows works that embody the  ‘Gutai Spirit’ of innovation, created by both the Gutai artists throughout their career and the aforementioned Western artists.

Photo: 15th Gutai Art Exhibition’, Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka, 1965. Left: Jiro Yoshihara, Right: Influential French art critic, curator and collector Michel Tapié.


When: 23 Nov 2018 - 13 Jan 2019 Where: Whitestone Gallery, H Queen’s, 7-8/F – 80 Queen’s Road Central – Central