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Preview: ‘Body and Matter’ at Dominique Lévy

From the show.

From the show.

Earlier today Dominique Lévy gallery hosted a press preview for “Body and Matter,” a show that pairs the work of Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino, whom Lévy called “near contemporaries” during a speech with reporters at the gallery.

While the show of Shiraga (b. 1924) and Hoshino (b. 1945) seemed poised to be one of those shows of lesser known, older artists that galleries sometimes do (with the thinking, “if you like this artist than you’ll like this other one, whose work we own a lot of”), the similarities between the two artists is fairly striking. Shiraga, a key member of the post-war Gutai group, was known for painting impressive, textural works with his feet. Hoshino, meanwhile, creates sculptural “paintings” seemingly made of mud.

It’s worth a look if you’re only just a fan of Shiraga, whom Lévy said she wasn’t terribly familiar with until relatively recently, comparing him to Allan Kaprow or Yves Klein but saying that Shiraga’s statement was almost more powerful in that it predated those two artists and occurred in conservative Japan. “To free yourself there is an incredible act,” she said.

Also on hand to speak was Reiko Tomii, the art historian and curator, who drew parallels between the two artist’s texture. Shiraga had always wanted to work with oil paint, she said, even in school, but was unable to go to Tokyo, the only place to study it, because of the war. When he finally started working with it, Tomii said, he found it “so slippery, so malleable. As slippery as a sea cucumber.”

The works themselves are fairly slippery, given their warped energy! Lévy said she had trouble deciding whether or not to install them chronologically or thematically. Ultimately opting for the latter. The works by Hoshino contrast nicely on the ground, though they can be hung as paintings.

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