The gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works on paper by Japanese Gutai artist Minoru Onoda at Draw Art Fair London from May 17 through 19, 2019. Booth G4.2.

Drawings by Minoru Onoda from the 1960s and 1970s will be presented for the first time in Europe. He became a fixture of the radically experimental Gutai association’s exhibitions from 1965 until its 1972 dissolution. In 1960 he quickly progressed from traditional nude and architectural drawings and paintings to abstract compositions. His drawings were rarely shown to colleagues during his lifetime and never exhibited before this year.

Small format compositions range from abstract shapes to the investigation of colour, contrast, positive and negative space. Organic shapes appear in the mid 1960s and interweaving, structured construction follow in rare drawings from 1965. These are followed by meticulous, multi coloured, biomorphic dot paintings which he called ‘sky dreams’. In the 1970s Onoda explored the dynamic relationship between a human and his surroundings through geometric unity and simplicity of the circle and round shapes. He often referred to himself as “the one who performs the circle”. He presents the circle’s endless proliferation as it journeys towards a perfect state of emptiness, silence. Later Onoda grew closer to Op art, painting larger, radiating planetary circles that float weightlessly, alone or in ordered groups, within seemingly monochrome, but detailed canvases teeming with increasing spheres.

Onoda’s paintings were included in the two key survey exhibitions: ‘Gutai: The Spirit of an Era’ at the National Art Center, Tokyo (2012), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s ‘Gutai: Splendid Playground’ (2013). A 230 page monograph has just been published in English and Japanese editions by Scheidegger & Spiess, Switzerland.

This survey of Minoru Onoda’s drawings and small scale paintings follows the 2017 ground-breaking solo exhibition at the gallery, presentation at Frieze Masters’ Spotlight and participation in this year’s Taipei Dangdai. A forthcoming solo exhibition in the gallery, Paintings : 1960s onward will open on Thursday, June 6th and will be on view until July 5th. His paintings are in numerous museum collections, including Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, The Miyagi Museum of Art, Himeji City Museum of Art, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL) and London’s Tate Modern (UK) have recently acquired his paintings for their respective collections.

Editor’s Notes

The Gutai group (1954-1972), founded in Ashiya, was Japan’s first radical artistic movement after World War II. Formed against a background of social and political release after years of autocratic rule in Japan, its basic tenets were experimentation and the abandonment of rules: “Do what has never been done before” was the dictum of the group’s founder, Jiro Yoshihara. This influential group was involved in large-scale multimedia environments, performances, and theatrical events and emphasized the relationship between body and matter in pursuit of originality. By the time Onoda (1937 – 2008) joined the group in 1965, the focus had shifted to the cultural changes rendered by the population explosion and technological advancements. The group was officially known as Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai (Art Association of Gutai).
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