The MOT museum, which I visited during the Tanaka Atsuko exhibition, was full of surprises. Rather dull surprises mostly, in the permanent exhibition; except the section which seemed intended to make the visitors believe that japanese painters invented dripping which was funny.
There was a part about Gutai which, if not enlightened me about what it was, at least interested me. Although of course I was almost bound to be interested because of the Tanaka exhibition and the perspective it seemed to give on Gutai revolution in art (in japan).
Many of their experiments seem to have been based on an exploitation of chance phenomena not unlike that of Dubuffet or Dada. Then again, their two precepts were:
1-do not copy others
So if I am able to compare Dada and Gutai (a book would do it for me, for example the french http://www.amazon.fr/Dada-au-Japon-Marc-Dachy/dp/2130519784 ) there is a paradox. How does Gutai define copying?
If copying the anarchist precepts of Dada makes originality possible, let’s not be too hard on these guys; they were sincere. Although i did not take pictures of Tanaka’s famous electric dress or of her viewer-generated (interactivity domine) ringing bells installation, I was glad to discover her etching talent. The exhibition is called “the art of connecting”; it draws interesting links between her graphic language (based on dots and dripping lines) and her electric installations.
Let me draw a link between this practice an that of her contemporary, Kusama Yayoi (the “pink” picture).