Whitestone Gallery Taipei is honoured to present the second exhibition in Taiwan dedicated to the renowned artist Tsuyoshi MAEKAWA. As a critical member of the Gutai Art Association, MAEKAWA’s practice has investigated perception, properties of materials, and abstraction ideas – all through an innovative approach to the medium of work, in which burlap serves as both the subject and object of art. For MAEKAWA’s second exhibition in Taiwan, Whitestone will exhibit a selection of 33 works by the artist, which includes two works that were made in the 1960s and displays his significant style of change in the past six decades, alongside works by seven other Gutai artists: Jiro YOSHIHARA, Shozo SHIMAMOTO, Chiyu UEMAE, Yasuo SUMI, Atsuko TANAKA, Takesada MATSUTANI and Shuji MUKAI. The exhibition will be on view from May 22 – July 11, 2021.
Having experienced the dread of the second world war as a young child, MAEKAWA studied graphic design in high school and considered his creation as an act of healing. Under the influence of Bauhaus and Joan Miró, the artist started to apply bold colours to burlap at the early stage of his creative career, which had drawn Shozo SHIMAMOTO’s attention, one of the founding members of Gutai. As one of the most influential postwar Japanese art collectives in Asia, Gutai was founded in 1954 by Jiro YOSHIHARA as an expression to break the boundaries of conventional art. Although MAEKAWA met the Gutai founder and showed his works in the 8th Gutai Art Exhibition in 1959, the artist did not join the group officially until 1962. He had since worked closely with other members such as SHIRAGA in the production of Don’t Worry; the Moon Wouldn’t Fall Down. In 1963, MAEKAWA did his first solo exhibition at the Gutai Pinacotheca.
MAEKAWA’s works embody merely represent material and explore subjective experience in innovative ways. His works open themselves up to their environment and invite a perceptual encounter grounded in vision and movement. Two 1964 works will be on view as a continuation and resonance of the show in 1963, which allows the audience to glance at the beginning of the artist’s momentous burlap style in this exhibition. In Work A55, MAEKAWA uses oil to paint the canvas with irregular shapes and lines, an unmistakable resemblance to his later three-dimensional works that were created by fabric cutting, attached and sewn. As time goes by, his style and use of colour have gradually transformed from rough to refined and from bright to soft, introducing primary hues with a linear vocabulary of forms to explore new compositional and perceptual possibilities.