April 03, 2023

Sadaharu Horio | Portfolio

By 1605 Collective
Art, Portfolio
Discover the Japanese visual and performance artist Sadaharu Horio (1939 - 2018). He created sculptural canvases as a member of the Gutai Art Society from 1966 to 1972. In the late 1960s, his work began to incorporate large-scale installations, performances and interventions in urban and natural environments. His concerts often involved the audience in spontaneous group creative endeavours. Horio played a key role in the development of a free and alternative art scene in the Kansai area. His work is characterised by a strong connection between painting and everyday life, a rejection of the boundary between high and low art, and the ease and humour with which he adapted his performances and installations to changing locations and cultural contexts, making them accessible and open.

What is Gutai?

As a member of Gutai, Horio created sculptural canvases using colourfully painted materials that were organised and assembled into various shapes. After Gutai disbanded in 1972, Horio developed more experimental processual approaches, including performances, installations and interventions in the built and natural environment. Although speed and spontaneity were used to accelerate his creative process, the act of applying paint remained crucial to these works. The forms of the original objects were significantly altered by Horio's 'ironuri' (colour placement) technique, which he developed in the mid-1980s.


Sadaharu Horio | 1605 Collective


Sadaharu Horio | 1605 Collective


Performances & Workshops

In 1997, he created the "ippun dah" (one-minute hitting method), which allows him to create several drawings or paintings in sequence in a short period of time. He also used this technique in his performances. Subsequently, in 2002, in a reference to the Gutai Card Box (1962), Horio began creating "100-Yen Paintings", in which visitors to exhibitions could purchase drawings by Horio or his partners, which were hidden and drawn on the spot, for the equivalent of about one euro at a kiosk that resembled a vending machine. For each of the 38 days of his solo exhibition at the Ashiya City Museum of Art & History in 2002, Horio produced a series of performances.

During his performances and workshops, Horio engaged the audience in impromptu activities that often built on his techniques for producing a large number of works quickly in a short period of time and regularly erupted into a group creative frenzy. Unaffected by the influence of institutions and the art market, Horio erased divisions such as those between artist and audience, or between works of high art and everyday acts. Horio's oeuvre also includes the series of woodblock prints Myokonin-den (1992-2009), which he produced in collaboration with Shji Hisaka, a colleague from his place of work, as well as a considerable number of drawings he made after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in March 1995, depicting disaster scenes in and around Kobe.


Sadaharu Horio | 1605 Collective


Sadaharu Horio | 1605 Collective


Influence in the artworld

Horio is particularly known for his performances, workshops that engage audiences in group creative endeavours, and techniques for producing a large number of works at a rapid pace. He is also known for his involvement in the alternative art scene in the Kansai area, as evidenced by his numerous artistic partnerships and support of regional artists and galleries. Japanese creative and cultural traditions such as calligraphy, ceramics and Zen have all been associated with Horio's work. His public image has been shaped by the comedy and everyday quality of his playful, open-minded approach to artistic creation.

Sadaharu Horio's unique style of abstract art has influenced many contemporary artists who continue to explore similar themes and techniques in their work. One such artist is Kazuo Shiraga, a fellow member of the Gutai Art Association, a collective of Japanese avant-garde artists to which Horio also belonged. Like Horio, Shiraga's work is characterized by a bold use of color and texture, often created through the use of unconventional materials like tar and rope.

Another artist who shares Horio's love of bold, expressive brushstrokes is Mark Bradford, an American artist who creates large-scale mixed-media paintings. Bradford's works often feature layers of paper, paint, and other materials, which he manipulates to create complex, abstract compositions. Like Horio, he is interested in exploring the boundaries of the medium, pushing the limits of what can be achieved through painting.

Lastly, the Korean artist Lee Ufan also shares similarities with Horio's work. Lee's paintings and sculptures feature simple, minimalist forms and a restrained color palette, but they also possess a sense of movement and energy that is reminiscent of Horio's work. Lee is known for his use of traditional Korean materials like stone and clay, which he incorporates into his work to create a sense of depth and texture.


Sadaharu Horio | 1605 Collective

With Japan in his heart

His own country, Japan had a profound influence on Sadaharu Horio's work, both in terms of its artistic traditions and its cultural values. Horio was deeply influenced by Japanese calligraphy, which he saw as a way to express the essence of things in a simple and direct way. His use of bold brushstrokes and a sense of movement in his paintings was inspired by the fluid, dynamic lines of calligraphy.

Horio was also influenced by the concept of "wabi-sabi", a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that values the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. This idea is reflected in Horio's use of materials like spray paint and other unconventional mediums, which allow him to create works that are raw and spontaneous, with a sense of imperfection that adds to their beauty.

In addition to these artistic influences, Japan's cultural values of harmony, balance, and respect for nature are also reflected in Horio's work. His use of color and texture is often inspired by the natural world, with bright, vivid hues that evoke the changing seasons and the beauty of the natural landscape.

Related Posts

Maura Sullivan | Portfolio
An excerpt from the portfolio of Maura Sullivan in 1605 Magazine No.1 Reflection: Maura Sullivan (b. 1971, United States
The Future of Art Books: A Glimpse into an Enduring Tradition
Explore the future of art books as enduring treasures of creativity and personalizsation. Learn from the insights of ren
Howard Greenberg | Interview
Check out this excerpt from our interview with Howard Greenberg, a prominent figure in the world of photography. Howard
Levi van Veluw | Portfolio
Discover the captivating world of Levi van Veluw, an artist whose diverse and thought-provoking creations draw inspirati