Shōzō Shimamoto

  • Born 1928 in Osaka, Japan
  • Died 2013 in Osaka, Japan

Shōzō Shimamoto began his artistic training in 1947 in the painting studio of Jirō Yoshihara (1905–1972) at Kanseigakuindaigaku (Kwansei Gakuin University). Even before graduating in 1950, he took part in exhibitions (Seven Avant-garde Artists, Kintetsu Department Store, Osaka, 1948) and created his first revolutionary series, “Ana” (Holes). Emphasizing materiality rather than pictorial space, he created fissured and pierced surfaces in newspaper layered with industrial paint. He became a founding member of the influential Gutai Art Association in 1954, and participated in many of the group’s exhibitions. In the later 1950s Shōzō Shimamoto focused on action-based art. His paintings became testimonies of his performance works, where he shot bags of paint, crashed bottles of paint through stones, or hurled them onto the canvas from a helicopter, a crane, and a hot-air balloon. Shimamoto was a founder of the mail art movement in the 1960s. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, participated in the Venice Biennale (1999; 2004; 2007), and in the exhibition Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949–1979 (1998) organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.