HI-RED CENTER: The Art of Direct Action in 1960s Japan
March 12 - May 1, 2022
Hi-Red Center (HRC), named after the three founding members: Jiro TAKAMATSU, Genpei AKASEGAWA and Natsuyuki NAKANISHI, was a Japanese avant-garde group active between 1963 to 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. Inspired by the creative spirit of post-war art, HRC conducted a series of experimental performances through impromptu performances that were highly critical and subverted the old system, breaking the habitual thinking of the public, and making the audience question the current worldview. At that time, Tokyo was an international city of avant-garde art, which had a decisive influence on the subsequent Japanese contemporary art.
Having undergone rapid economic changes and being occupied by the United States after World War II, Japan resulted in many avant-garde and highly controversial creations in the art world in the 1960s. After the United States ended its occupation of Japan in 1952, the overall artistic style of Japan changed from Figurative to Cross-genre, such as Gutai Art Association and Jikken Kōbō. Art groups that combined painting and performing arts appeared one after another. Influenced by the anti-social movement, the arts blurred the boundaries between performance and public spaces. The "Yamanote Line Incident" is the most critically-acclaimed event. On October 18, 1962, Jiro TAKAMATSU, Natsuyuki NAKANISHI and their fellow members staged a guerrilla performance event on a train on the Yamanote loop line in central Tokyo. Wearing a suit with a white foundation on his face, NAKANISHI held an ostrich egg-like three-dimensional work "Compact Object" and haunted the platform and trains of the Yamanote Line. They moved the performance space from the gallery to transportation, challenging the public's understanding of art at that time.
Image above:"Greater Japan Zero-yen Note" (1967), Genpei AKASEGAWA
Japan was the host of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Not only was it a milestone for Japan, which demonstrated the critical economic status of a formerly defeated country, but it was also a critical turning point in the Japanese art and cultural circles. The Japanese government sued Genpei AKASEGAWA under the "Currency and Securities Production Ban Act" for his creation of the "Model 1,000-Yen Note". The "Model 1,000-Yen Note Incident" lasted for five years, and AKASEGAWA won the support of many artists and art critics. Numerous artworks had been brought to the court to testify. However, he was convicted in 1970, and his imprisonment had shocked the entire Japanese art world, becoming a symbol of "body politics" unexpectedly.
Over 30 works created by Jiro TAKAMATSU, Genpei AKASEGAWA and Natsuyuki NAKANISHI will be shown in this exhibition, including NAKANISHI's Rhyme (1960) and AKASEGAWA's Greater Japan Zero-Yen Note (1967). Shelter Plan (1964), a video work by Motoharu JONOUCHI, will also be displayed. Through the perspective of the avant-garde art group Hi-Red Center, the audience will be introduced to the artistic journey of the three founding members. Divided into three areas, viewers will first appreciate the elegant works created by NAKANISHI from 1997 to 2007, followed by the "Form" series TAKAMATSU built in the 1990s. Related Japanese art history will be shown in the last room, where viewers can have an in-depth understanding of roles played by the three avant-garde artists through the chronology, books, and documentary video.
1F, No.1, Jihu Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City, 114, Taiwan (R.O.C)
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Opening Hours: 11:00 - 19:00
Closed: Sunday, Monday, Public Holiday