Shozo Shimamoto, The Art Of the Orient Flying low
Achille Bonito Oliva
If modern science has exalted intelligent chance, the celebration of the event caused by the break-up of the rigid relationship between cause and effect, contemporary art, from Mallarmé's coup de dés up to Brian Gysin's cut-up used by W. Burroughs, celebrates the possibility of the painful chance of form, now confirmed by the great Japanese artist of the Gutai Shimamoto Group, which renewed the creative process from the fifties on. It introduced a distance and an interval between doing and seeing.
There are two legendary sequences in the history of contemporary art, taken and filmed by the photographer Hans Namuth, and a film director respectively. They show Picasso at work, filmed by Clouzot, and Jackson Pollock photographed during his dripping dance around a canvas spread out on the floor. Pollock's furor is not satisfied with a vertical hand-to-hand combat with the canvas on the wall or the easel, but requires the psycho-sensory absorption of the whole somatic system. The artist circulates, vacillates, and dances inebriated around the canvas.
But there are many photos, also legendary, that document the pictorial and performative works of Shozo Shimamoto for posterity, where he uses distance to reach his goal in painting, the true object of his creative process.