The artist at work in his atelier
Image provided by the Amagasaki Cultural Foundation
Shiraga Kazuo: Biography
- Born in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture.
- Entered Kyoto City Technical School of Painting (now Kyoto City University of Arts) in the Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) department.
- Graduated from Kyoto City Technical School of Art (renamed in April 1945) and switched to Western-style painting.
- Debuted at the Shinseisaku-ha Kyokai (now Shinseisaku Kyokai) exhibition.
- Formed Zero Society with Kanayama Akira, Murakami Saburo, Tanaka Atsuko and others.
- Painted with his feet for the first time, beginning “foot painting.”
- Became a member of the Gutai Art Association, led by Yoshihara Jiro, along with fellow Zero Society members Kanayama, Murakami, and Tanaka. Afterwards he attempted experimental three-dimensional works and performances in parallel with his paintings, using Gutai exhibitions as his stage.
- Signed contract with art critic Michel Tapié, advocate of the “art informel” movement, to send his paintings to Europe.
- Began using a squeegee to create paintings.
- Interest in esoteric Buddhism intensified, and he became a monk of the Tendai sect at Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei.
- Gutai Art Association disbanded after the death of Yoshihara Jiro. Religious colours began to appear in his works.
- Completed 35-day shidokegyo Buddhist training at Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei. Afterwards, he produced many enso (circular form often associated with Buddhism) works using a squeegee.
- Returned to foot painting, and he hewed to this method in his later years. In contrast to his previous foot paintings, which was often bloody and brutal, his canvases became dominated by a stripped-down freshness and a heightened spirituality.
- Received the Hyogo Prefecture Culture Prize.
- Received the Regional Cultural Merit Award from the Minister of Education.
- Received the Osaka Arts Prize.
- Died in Amagasaki City.