WorkUEMAE Chiyu

1962 | oil on canvas | 185.0 x 290.0 cm


Commentary on work

Uemae Chiyu is a founding member of the Gutai Art Association who created what he called “non-representational” works through painstaking, repetitive processes. This work, comprising a large number of colorful dots painted carefully across a canvas almost 3 meters wide, resembles those of Pointillism. However, rather than forming a visual “image”, Uemae’s accumulation of dots seems to have created a visual effect akin to a physical “touch.” The work exhibits the material presence that is shared by his matchstick works of the same period, and the works of his later years in which sawdust, cloth and threads are used. In the early period of Gutai, many artists created spectacular works, often with a strong element of performance. In that context, Uemae’s work may to some extent give an impression of being off-message, but his artistic style clearly meets the spirit of the Gutai Art Manifesto, which focuses particularly on the relationship between matter and art/the human spirit. This work was exhibited at the Asahi Shimbun’s Modern Art Fair in 1962.

Brief biography of artist

born in Kyoto Prefecture in 1920

Born on the Tango Peninsula in rural Kyoto, Uemae started work after finishing elementary school, but in his spare time intermittently studied painting, beginning with nihonga and then going on to Western-style painting. In 1947, his work was selected for the first Niki Exhibition. In 1953, Uemae began to study under Yoshihara Jiro, and joined the Gutai Art Association as a founding member the following year. He remained in the association until its dissolution in 1972. Uemae turned to create paintings by using matchsticks around 1960, and then in mid-1970s, began to produce “sewing” works, stitching with cloth and thread. He has participated in a large number of solo and group exhibitions including Chiyu Uemae at the Osaka Contemporary Art Center (1999) and Chiyu Uemae — Jigado at the BB Plaza Museum of Art in Kobe (2012).

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