Minoru Yoshida: Wave of Light

When 23 Sep 2020 - 8 Nov 2020
Where Ulterior
172 Attorney St.
New York, NY 10002
United States
To open its fifth season, Ulterior Gallery is pleased to present paintings by Minoru Yoshida from the 1960s. Ulterior has previously produced several video screenings and exhibitions of Minoru Yoshida’s performance documentations in New York, and exhibitions of his two-dimensional works in New York and in Tokyo. On this occasion, Yoshida’s late 1960s paintings will be on view from September 23 through November 8, 2020. In the years since they were made, these paintings have not been widely exhibited, and this is the first time a group of paintings from his Gutai period will be shown in the United States. Yoshida passed away on October 23, 2010 due to complications from cancer, and 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of his death. Ulterior is proud to host this exhibition during this significant year.

A third-generation member of Gutai Art Association and the only member from Kyoto, Yoshida was instrumental in Gutai Art Association’s development in the 1960s. Right around the time he joined Gutai, Yoshida began creating abstract paintings which contained forms resembling flowers, microorganisms, and sometimes female genitalia, mostly in a variety of flat blue tones. However, his painting saw a clear development around the mid-1960s.

Yoshida’s abstract forms were first inspired by organic motifs, but while he was actively producing paintings, the forms began to be simplified and to function plainly on their own. In the largest painting in the exhibition, Just Curve “Red,” 1967 (photograph above), the forms in red and blue combine to create a sense of perspective and an illusion of movement, as if each part is moving forward or upward. By introducing silver as the background color, Yoshida also evoked the industrial mode of the era, and merged it with the lyricism infused with his observation of nature.

Just Curve “Red” is an especially rare and important example of this body of work, produced as Yoshida’s interest was shifting to the production of three-dimensional works with Plexiglas. The title Just Curve is shared among several of Yoshida’s pieces, both paintings and the kinetic sculptures he began making around this time. In 1966, Yoshida created a work that is between painting and sculpture called Just Curve for Blue, 1966, and exhibited it at the 3rd Nagaoka Modern Museum Award Exhibition in the same year. Following this painting, Yoshida created a much-noticed installation piece featuring Plexiglas, metal plate, and sound effects, called Just Curve ’67 (Station), for the 9th Nihon Kokusai Bijutsu-ten [the 9th Japan International Art Exhibition]: Tokyo Biennale, for which he was awarded the Ohara Museum Award and the piece was acquired by the museum. In the years following, Yoshida continued his exploration of kinetic sculpture, producing renowned examples such as Bisexual Flower (1969) and Electric Car (1970), both exhibited at World Expo ’70 in Osaka. Bisexual Flower was most recently exhibited in 2013 at Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Minoru Yoshida was born in Osaka in 1935 and graduated from Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, Kyoto, Japan in 1959, studying painting. Yoshida joined the legendary post-war Japanese artists collective Gutai Art Association in 1965 at the invitation of Kazuo Shiraga. In 1970, Yoshida left Japan to live and work in downtown New York, producing performances pieces, including ones featuring his Synthesizer Jacket. He participated in the New York Avant-garde Festival curated by Charlotte Moorman for several consecutive years, and also performed at Artist’s Space and on the streets of the city. He returned to Kyoto in 1978 and continued to produce works that bridged performance and art. Yoshida’s works are in the collection of Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, Hyogo, Japan; Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama, Japan; Takamatsu Municipal Museum, Kagawa, Japan; Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Niigata, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; and The Warehouse, Dallas, TX. His exhibition history and past awards include: Performances in New York, Ulterior Gallery, New York, NY (2018); Curatorial Studies: Minoru Yoshida’s Paintings 1964–1967, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan (2014); Gutai: Splendid Playground, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2013); Possible Futures: Japanese Postwar Art and Technology, Inter Communication Center, Tokyo, Japan (2005); Fluorescent Chrysanthemum: Contemporary Japanese Art, ICA London, UK (1968); Gendai no Kuukan ’68: Hikari to Kankyou [Contemporary Space ’68: Lights and Environment], Kobe Sogo Department Store, Hyogo (1968); Nihon Kokusai Bijutsu-ten [Japan International Art Exhibition], Ohara Museum Purchase Prize (1967), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan; Mainichi Gendai Bijutsu-ten [Mainichi Contemporary Art Exhibition], Concour Award (1966).

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

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