GUTAI Movement in Japan and Art Afterwards: Towards New Understanding of Current Media Art


Session Title:

  • Media Histories: Japan

Presentation Title:

  • GUTAI Movement in Japan and Art Afterwards: Towards New Understanding of Current Media Art




  • Is contemporary art still functioning as a role to propose the issue in a current society?  In a complex world like today, it is difficult to answer this question and to think about the relationship between art and society.  However, when think about the art movement that occurred after postwar in Japan, it is obvious that the specific intention and certain actions were happening in a chaotic situation.  One of the most important movement took place in Japan was GUTAI.

    This paper will investigate GUTAI movement in 1950s and the correlation with today’s media art.  The first reason why it is important to reconsider GUTAI is that the uniqueness of this movement.  For example, Atsuko Tanaka, one of the female members internationally known as her work of “Electric Dress” was the most successful person in GUTAI, although it was not easy for her to keep continuing her work.  How contemporary art react to the society from personal point of view and how it connect to public is the theme of this paper.

    The second reason is the importance to rethink about the pre history of media art.  It is critical to examine the postwar avant-garde art movement such as GUTAI to understand how it affected today’s media art especially in Japan.

    The paper will explore about GUTAI and Japanese avant-garde art from 1950s to 1970s from cultural and sociological view to reconsider contemporary role of art and the relationship between culture and society.  The paper will open a path to new understanding of media art in today’s situation.

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