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Gutai Art Using the Stage

One of the unique things about Gutai was not only the originality of their works, but also the way of their presentations, which had never been seen before. While some of their works were presented outdoors, in the sky, and in printed materials, one of the most significant contributions to their later activities was the presentation of "Performing Arts Using the Stage" held at Sankei Kaikan in Osaka in 1957. Although most of the works presented at this event were temporary and did not take shape, they were unique in their experimental spirit and included many works that could not be expressed through painting or sculpture, such as sound, movement, and light. The presentation on the stage consisted of each artist showing a performance or a moving sculpture in turn according to their turn.
Kazuo Shiraga danced the ultra modern Sanbaso in a costume of his own creation. In Shozo Shimamoto's work, countless ping-pong balls inside a tube were scattered across the stage when the tube was broken, and Akira Kanayama inflated a giant balloon that spread across the stage.
Atsuko Tanaka wore an electric suit, Saburo Murakami smashed a screen made of Hatron paper, and Jiro Yoshihara's "Two Spaces" consisted of talking voices, flashlight lights, and noise. In some of the pieces, concrete music created mainly by Shozo Shimamoto was played on tape recorders that had just been released at the time.
The performance ended with a work by Sadamasa Motonaga, in which smoke was expelled one after another, filling the venue with smoke. The second performance was held in Tokyo, and was even more unique, with Toshio Yoshida performing his own wedding ceremony on stage, wrapped in a cloth.




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