Sadamasa Motonaga

  • Born 1922 in Iga Ueno, Mie Prefecture, Japan
  • Died 2011 in Takarazuka, Japan

Sadamasa Motonaga initially became famous for his drip paintings (using enamel paint from 1957 onward), which were inspired by the traditional Japanese technique of tarashikomi, but he also made silkscreen prints and picture books. He began his artistic training in 1944 under the painter Hamabe Mankichi (1902–1998) and moved to Kobe, Japan, in 1952 to study at the nearby Nishinomiya geijutsu gakkō (Nishinomiya Art School). After a short figurative phase (adopting the croquis drawing technique and elements of Fauvism), he turned to abstraction in 1953. At the invitation of Yoshihara Jirō (1905–1972), Sadamasa Motonaga became a member of the Gutai Art Association. From 1955 to 1971 he created experimental and site-specific works (installations) using natural and industrial materials. His Work (Water) (1956) for the second Gutai outdoor exhibition is considered a seminal work with its innovative concept of combining stable materials (plastic) with ephemeral, fluid elements (water, color, and light). After living in New York from 1966 to 1967, he began to use airbrush and acrylic paint, changing his visual language to hard-edged yet round shapes of bright, saturated colors. Motonaga received many important prizes, including the Japanese Art Grand Prix in 1983.

Artworks by Sadamasa Motonaga in the exhibition