PARIS - Kazuo Shiraga’s Gekidou Suru Aka (literally, ‘dynamic of red’) is an exceptional work infused with unbridled energy. This oil on canvas was specially commissioned from Kazuo Shiraga in 1969, and ceremoniously unveiled at Expo ’70, the world’s fair in Osaka, where Gutai artists figured prominently – with Gekidou Suru Aka serving as their manifesto. The painting has not been shown in public since.

Kazuo Shiraga’s Gekidou Suru Aka will be offered at the Contemporary Art sale in Paris on 3 June.

The Gutai movement – the name comes from gu (instrument) and taï (body) – was founded in 1955, and propelled contemporary Japanese art onto the international stage. After the trauma of the post-war period, a new generation of artists revolutionized the acts of creation and painting, notably via spectacular performances. Their thirst for liberty is fully evident in Gekidou Suru Aka, where matter is the principal subject. “Gutai art does not transform or divert matter, but gives it life,” as the movement’s manifesto put it in 1956. The canvas is crisscrossed with the artist’s imprints and bodily encounter with paint, making Gekidou Suru Aka a work of tremendous power. Thickly applied layers of paintwork, without any traces of cracks, theatrically intermingle to showcase Shiraga’s art with sublime verve. It is only fitting that interest in the artist’s work has ballooned in recent years.

Sotheby’s France – Contemporary Art
Auction Tuesday 3 June at 7pm