Il movimento informale nel mondo – didascalie ai quadri in mostra
by Emanuele Leone Emblema
Shozo Shimamoto (Osaka, 1928)
The leading figure, together with Kazuo Shiraga, and one of the most long-lived members, of the Japanese Gutai movement, the “avant-garde under the sky”. He was the first pupil of the group’s founder, Jiro Yoshihara. All his painting is based on performance and the dynamicity of the colour, which unites the unpredictability and immediacy of the gesture with a profound and extenuating preparatory study. Like other representatives of Gutai, Shimamoto combines a rebel spirit with an equally deeply rooted deference for the Eastern Tradition, especially that inspired by Zen and Shinto.
Yasuo Sumi (Itami, 1925)
The grand old man of the Gutai movement. He has participated in all the exhibitions held by the group, developing a personal and very lyrical style. He is the most Japanese member of the movement by character and attitude. His name, Sumi, means ink, and in fact the liquid colour used by this artist, even if thrown on the canvas without apparent designs, is rendered dynamic and managed by successive interventions. Sumi almost always uses a special spatula borrowed from the art of the Keresansui, the gravel garden of Zen monks, thus modulating the movement and rhythm of the painting with asymmetric relations.
Emilio Vedova (Venice, 1919-2006)
A prominent member of the Italian Informal movement, Vedova distinguishes himself by his tormented gestural style and great executive dynamism. His sign is black and violent by definition. His famous cycle titled “Plurimi” is an attempt to create an unstable work of art that may be manipulated, with a very accentuated spatial and environmental dimension. Vedova’s gesture is nervous and introverted, at least as much as his world. While widely acclaimed, he spent his whole life without almost ever leaving Venice. He has been a committed intellectual, even if his positions have been quite contradictory.
Giulio Turcato (Mantua, 1912-Rome, 1995)
An eclectic personality and a very sensible painter, he participated in the resistance movement in Northern Italy, later moving to Rome where he became part of the art and film milieu. Turcato’s paintings cover the whole spectrum of the research of the Informal movement: the sign of Oriental derivation, the gesture that is almost always cool and rarefied, the deeply rooted political commitment. But what intrigues him is above all the texture, especially in its luminist and chromatic aspects. “Changing” and “Foam rubbers” are among his best known works, made from a complex, but never suffocating, composition of mixed media.
Salvatore Emblema (Terzigno, 1929-2006)
Informal by choice rather than by intents. Even if somewhat younger, he participated in the Venice Biennial of 1982 together with Vedova and Turcato. His greatest interest was the relationship between painting, light and environmental space. However, he did not exclude the gestural datum which on several occasions, and for various purposes, appeared in his research. His name is closely linked to the concepts of transparency and decomposition. An action which enables Emblema to replace the luminist effect of the colour with the real capacity of the painting to absorb and restore the physical light.
Georges Mathieu (Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1921)
Mathieu is, thanks to his long career, by now considered a true national monument in France. He is just as refined, cultured and elegant outside his atelier as he is aggressive, hyperkinetic and apodictic in front of the canvas. He is the artist-symbol of Tachisme, but also the European with closest bonds to the Japanese culture. His painting, clear and uncontrollable, signic and gestural, is characterized by a centrifugal movement and for the brazen and flaunted physicality. Together with Jackson Pollock, Mathieu has been one of the artists who has best exploited the media, and that of television in particular, to document his performances.