Yoko Ono inspired by Japanese Gutai movement

by Emma

The Gutai Manifesto

Yoshihara wrote the manifesto for the Gutai group in 1956. The full text of the “Gutai Manifesto” is available in English at the website of Japan’s Ashiya City Museum of Art & History [2]. Among its preoccupations, the manifesto expresses a fascination with the beauty that arises when things become damaged or decayed. The process of damage or destruction is celebrated as a way of revealing the inner “life” of a given material or object:

“Yet what is interesting in this respect is the novel beauty to be found in works of art and architecture of the past which have changed their appearance due to the damage of time or destruction by disasters in the course of the centuries. This is described as the beauty of decay, but is it not perhaps that beauty which material assumes when it is freed from artificial make-up and reveals its original characteristics? The fact that the ruins receive us warmly and kindly after all, and that they attract us with their cracks and flaking surfaces, could this not really be a sign of the material taking revenge, having recaptured its original life?….” [3]


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