Sadamasa Motonaga (1922-2011)

   |  14 October 2011  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

Takarazuka (Japan), 14 October 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).

Japanese artist Sadamasa Motonaga passed away on 3 October in Japan after suffering from cancer.

Born in 1922, Motonaga studied in the Fine Arts in Osaca before moving to Kobe in 1952. The next year he became famous with a painting that attracted artist Jiro Yoshihara’s attention – Kiiro no rafu (Yellow Nude). Yoshihara motivated him to join the avant-garde group Gutaï, a founding movement in the development of Japanese contemporary art and its influence on the international scene. Artists’ interests lie in works presented in situ, often ephemeral, that rely on performance and pictorial gesticulation.

Motonaga begins his experimentations on “Water Work”, vinyl pipes full of coloured water hanging from branches.

At the end of the 1950s he started to make paintings where the motives, the forms and the colours gave birth to an arbitrary interaction of pigments on the prepared by an underlying drawing. Sadamasa Motonaga became one of the leaders of Japanese avant-garde, he was invited by Japan Society to present his work in New York and then in Europe in 1965 and 1966. Returning to Japan he entered a new phase of his art. This period’s production ,wearing humouristic colourful titles, is known as “Funny art”. He examines equally the etching, particularly children’s books illustrations, as well as pottery, chair and carpet design.

Motonaga received the Japanese Art Grand-Prix in 1983 and in 1988 he was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. A retrospective dedicated to him was presented at Hiroshima city Museum of Contemporary art in 2003 and in 2009 he was participated at the Venice Biennial as a Gutaï group member.

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