Ay-O Ay-O



Ay-O, known as the "rainbow artist", for his use of colorful, rainbow-striped motifs in his artwork to break through the constructs of painting. Other aspects of Ay-O's activities include experiments with tactile and other perceptual art, events with the international avant-garde art movement Fluxus, and printmaking throughout his life. His choices in various places of different environments, makes him a precursor of today's Happenings and installations.

The "Hydrā", made in 1961-62, is a device made of a cylindrical aluminum body with light bulbs situated within six lanterns, and is associated with the multi-headed serpentine in Greek mythology. The light bulbs inside the lanterns, emit an artificial light and the upward airflow generated by the heat acts on the propellers causing the mounted lanterns around the shaft, to rotate in a natural phenomenon. The light overflowing from the lanterns reflects on the movement of the rotating lanterns. It then transfers on to the main body of the work, the aluminum plate, creating a fluid pattern reminiscent of intertwining snakes in a light spectacle on the walls and ceiling of the exhibition room. "Hydrā" is installed in the first half of the 5th exhibition room and every object located within the space is enveloped by the light created by this device, becoming a piece that is part of Ay-O's environmental art.



Rainbow Sea Scape, 1970, Acrylic on canvas, 185.0 x 247.0cm
Olympic Eight, 1992, Acrylic on canvas, 181.8 x 227.3cm
Olympic Yachts_1992, Acrylic on canvas, 181.8 x 227.3cm
installation image, Karuizawa, 2019
installation image, Karuizawa, 2019
installation image, Karuizawa, 2019


Born in Ibaraki prefecture.
Joins the Demokrato Artists association.
Graduates from Art Department, Faculty of Education, the Tokyo Kyoiku University (the present University of Tsukuba).
Founds Group Jitsuzaisha with Masuo Ikeda and others.
Moves to the United States. Ay-O sets up a base in NewYork thereafter and he begins going back and forth between Japan and the U.S.
Devotes himself to Fluxus mouvement on referral from Yoko Ono.
Exhibits series of Rainbow Happening as part of the Fluxus event (the Carnegie Recital Hall, New York).
Appeared in Allan Kaprow’s book “Assemblage, Environments & Happenings” as the early Environment artist along with Yayoi Kusama and George Segal.
Represented Japan at the 33rd Venice Biennale.
Represented Japan at the 11th Sao Paulo Biennale in which he receives Brazil Bank Prize.
Suspends a 300 meters long rainbow banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Receives a Prize Purple Ribbon
Solo show “Over the Rainbow: Ay-O Retrospective 1950-2006” (Fukui Fine Arts Museum,Fukui, Miyazaki Prefectural Museum).
Solo show “Ay-O 1950s-2010: Retrospective” commemorating twenties anniversary from the museum foundation(Tsukuba Museum of Art, Ibaraki).
Solo show “Ay-O: Over the Rainbow Once More”(Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Niigata City Art Museum, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art).



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