You know what they say, things come to you when you need them the most, just after we had had the initial meetings to start our project I stumbled upon an article related to GUTAI. It immediately sucked me in and it was all I could talk about. Luckily the Mousai group share the same interests as me and they were quite intrigued by it, so when Shiwalee suggested that we add additional focused research projects to what we are already doing- naturally we decided on the topic of GUTAI.
So much of what we are trying to achieve in our ongoing activities has already been beautifully experimented with by the Gutai artists. I’m getting insane inspiration from it and it is helping me understand what we have set out to do on a deeper level and in ways I had not thought of before.
Before I ramble on…you should know…
WHAT IS GUTAI?????? It was an avant-garde art movement that started in the 1950’s. The Gutai group was founded by the incredible Yoshihara Jiro- artist, critic and above all teacher. It was legendary in its own time and has directly and indirectly lit the spark for many of the modern ideas that have followed. It was highly experimental and extremely ferocious.
The Gutai expanded the definition of painting making it looser and allowing it to include any action of picture making in time and space. It continued to break down such barriers- like the pre set notions about art and “artists”.
There is a lot I have on my mind, but right now I cant really seem to organize it up and transfer it into something tangible. So forgive me if what follows is a little disjointed… here are the main things that I feel and understand and could link with the Gutai movement.
I love that they believed that one must not have to be an ‘artist’ in the literal sense to be able to create… What I consider avant-garde is the involvement of ordinary people in the production of a work of art.—said SHIMAMOTO Shōzō, (a member of the Gutai group). Which is what we here at the Mousai group believe too…That’s why we are aiming at attracting different people from different backgrounds and different occupations to take part in our courses. It will be inspiring to see the different ways in which peoples thoughts get translated into art. I feel we will be learning as much from the people we will be guiding as they will learn from us. We have a chance to explore raw creativity as an inspiration to…well, to stop thinking too much. Something I feel anyone put through even a few months of art school needs to learn to do…I know I need it.
Which brings us to the process over finished product issue, the Gutai group among many of the great contemporary artists believe in stressing the importance of the actual act of creating rather than the art that is produced as a result of that action- you could say that the process on its own is strong enough to be called an art in itself. When I do any work, it’s the process that I’ll remember later on and my favourite pieces are the ones I enjoyed the most or even sometimes the ones I found most challenging, and I think this holds true for a majority of artists. This is “a day to day process that anyone can engage in” (said Sadaharu Horio- Gutai member). Sadaharu paints every single day without fail, he has made creation a continous process which he has integrated into his life. Everything is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to stress about what the outcome may be, creativity shouldn’t be pressured by the need to produce “beautiful” things ( please note that I’m using the term beautiful very loosely here). If It’s not being pressured it gets honed and the best part is, that it can be applied to every single aspect of our lives be learning, working or even something as mundane as tying your shoe laces. All the great people we hear about approached their areas of excellence with a touch of creativity.
Creativity is such an elevating thing, really shows us the beauty of our minds and that’s why art is an experience and a therapeutic one at that. I was so touched to hear feedback from the parent of the 4year old girl that participated in our last event. Apparently, after she got home she was all smiles and had seemed to have really enjoyed herself Which was news to me, in fact to all of us, because during the event she didn’t seem quite responsive, so it’s great to know that we managed to get through to her. For me that was something that really motivated me and made me want to try harder at making this project work.
Speaking about processes, Shozo shimamoto approached this in a way that I find very interesting, he was concerned with toeing the line between chance and control.( I will be dedicating a post to him soon) How much of the art owes itself to the artists control and how much of it does it owe to chance?? Is that control (that artists spend years and years perfecting) really necessary to partake in the act of creation or can you go in blind like a child and create something spectacular and enjoy the benefits of that action. I guess control is important, there are certain levels of art which need that level of understanding and sensitivity in creation, but for art as a therapeutic activity, you can forget all about control and just enjoy! After all one of the numerous benefits of art is enjoyment. That is why the courses and activities that Mousai have designed are such that they do not require any developed skill, they are basic and quite simple allowing the participants to engage in them effortlessly and allowing them to explore the concept of chance and control on a basic level.
There is much more I’d like to talk about but it’s not quite ready just yet, plus this post is getting too long :P. so that’s it for now…I’ll definitely be adding more posts on this topic soon.