Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Untitled, 1977. Image courtesy of Gagosian
Beyond Matter at Gagosian
Gagosian Gallery, San Francisco
From 12 January 2017 to 04 March 2017
Gagosian is pleased to present “Beyond Matter,” an exhibition of sewn and painted fabric works by Tsuyoshi Maekawa. The exhibition also includes selected works by Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani, Jorge Eielson, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and Salvatore Scarpitta, elaborating a greater global context for Maekawa’s work.
Jorge Eielson, Quipus 19B, 1994. Image courtesy of Gagosian
The Gutai Art Association (GAA), formed in 1954 in Osaka, Japan, asserted individual creativity and international outreach following Japan’s wartime isolationism. In relation to Art Informel, Abstract Expressionism, the Dutch Nul collective, and more, Gutai reveals late modernism to be both a global and local network. In 1972, following the death of their co-founder Yoshihara Jirō, members of the GAA gathered to discuss disbanding. Maekawa decided to extend his practice beyond Yoshihara’s imperative “Do what no one has done before!“
Alberto Burri, N.7,1954. Image courtesy of Gagosian
He continued sewing burlap into intricate waveforms, but instead of focusing on the performative radicality that typified Gutai, his subsequent work reveals a shift to methodical experimentation, using thinner layers of paint and refined tactile effects, such as impressions left in the burlap from his own fingers. “Beyond Matter” features eighteen of Maekawa‘s post-Gutai works, revealing intricate permutations between tautness and slackness in the stretches and folds of material.
Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Untitled, 1975. Image courtesy of Gagosian
Maekawa‘s artistic output from this period shows that he succeeded in moving beyond Gutai after its dissolution. The works chosen in response to this development bear relation to Maekawa’s material manipulations. From Italy, Castellani and Fontana, who exhibited their own work at the Gutai Pinacotheca, reimagined the surface of the canvas through wrapping and slashing. Burri combined burnt, ripped, and scraped textures, while Manzoni and Scarpitta brought sculptural elements to the canvas, stacking kaolin tiles and weaving thick fabric bands across wooden stretchers. Similarly, Peruvian born Jorge Eielson draped and cinched his canvases diagonally across their supports. To consider these works alongside Maekawa’s points to the rich complexity of the global artistic network whose aim was to break the boundaries of the painted surface.