Kazuo Shiraga at Axel Vervoordt Gallery
The Axel Vervoordt Gallery is launching its new space at Kanaal in Antwerp with a retrospective of Japanese Gutai master Kazuo Shiraga.
Previously located in central Antwerp, the Axel Vervoordt Gallery is relocating to a former 19th-century industrial site on the outskirts of the city called Kanaal. Setting the tone for the new cultural and residential complex, the gallery is celebrating an artist that has inspired its work: Kazuo Shiraga.
Shiraga was a significant member of Gutai, an avant-garde Japanese movement that emphasised ‘concreteness’ or ’embodiment’. Seeking new processes of making, Shiraga developed a form of action paintings and live performances, sometimes suspended above canvases or using his feet to paint. Initially he worked with pulverised mineral pigments and glue, but later returned to oil paint. A selection of his most important paintings made between the 1960s and 1980s will be shown.
“While Shiraga’s work conveys the essence of Japanese culture, it centres on bold expressions unlike anything in Japanese art until that point. And though the artist used Western materials, he made work that was inconceivable to Western people, giving rise to a unique spirituality and expressivity,” gallery director Boris Vervoordt explains the significance of the artist’s work. “Shiraga has been a constant source of inspiration for our work, and we are both delighted and privileged to open our new gallery which such an important retrospective of his oeuvre.”
Also opening at Kanaal alongside the gallery, are curated displays of the Axel and May Vervoordt Foundation’s collection. The entire Kanaal development comprises 98 apartments and lofts, as well as offices, artist studios, galleries and event spaces, in existing buildings and extensions that accentuate and revive the historical site. It is scheduled for completion in spring 2017.