'The Gutai Art Association (or Gutai) was an avant-garde group formed in 1954 by a collection of young artists living in the Hanshin region that was led by the pioneering Kansai abstract painter Yoshihara Jiro. (The group disbanded in 1972.) The name "Gutai" was meant to" present concrete proof that our spiritis free." (The literal meaning of the word "gutai" is "concrete.")
'"Spirt" was considered to be specific to each individual but also an abstract entity. Gutai's leader Yoshihara Jiro relentlessly demanded that the group's members make art unlike any that had ever existed in the past, and further, that these expressions be abstract in nature. He also organized exhibitions to show their work in parks, on stage, and in the sky. The members responded by producing a succession of creative and innovative works rooted in fantastic concepts. Although the artists'activities were largely ignored in Japan at the time, the group was highly acclaimed abroad and the name "GUTAI" came to be widely recognized in the Western art world in the late '50s.
'After the group's dissolution, a number of Gutai retrospectives were held in European museums. In Japan, however, despite a movement to reappraise the group that began gaining momentum in the '80s and a few retrospectives at museums in the Kansai area, there has unfortunately never been an event held in Tokyo that focused on the entirety of Gutai's 18-year career held in Tokyo. This will be the first. The '50s and '60s, the period during which Gutai emerged, were notable for Japan's miraculous recovery, which was achieved through soaring economic growth in the wake of the country's defeat in World War II. In this exhibition, we present a collection of approximately 150 works which, through an abundance of challenging spirit and creative energy, function as a symbol of that era.' (from website of The National Art Center, Tokyo)
With biographical sketches of artists and list of works. A chronology of Gutai movement is also included.