Opening exhibition of the solo show Yasuo Sumi | NOTHING BUT THE FUTURE: Vernissage cocktail of the exhibition curated by Flaminio Gualdoni at the ABC-ARTE base in Genoa

18 February 2016
By invitation 6.30pm - 10.00pm


Works 1954 - 2013.


curated by Flaminio Gualdoni


February 2016 - May 2016

Opening: February 18th 2016 | From 6.30pm to 10pm

Via Venti Settembre 11A - 16121 - Genoa - Italy


In 2008 ABC-ARTE organized and promoted the perfomance by Master Shozo Shimamoto at Palazzo Ducale and his exhibition, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, at the Museum of Contemporary Arts Villa Croce in Genoa.

Now ABC-ARTE will inaugurate the exhibition Yasuo Sumi | Nothing but the future, curated by Flaminio Gualdoni.

This retrospective on the Japanese artist is patronised by the City of Genoa and supported by the Yasuo Sumi archive by Andrea Mardegan, Ibaraki (Japan). Our aim is to show a chronological anthology of the Gutai Master's artistic itinerary, from his first works to his most recent performances.

This event represents an important occasion to study a central author in the history of art in the XXth century. It will highlight a special period for history, politics, culture and art, when revolutionary artistic concepts reached Europe, United States and Japan through parallel ways. Flaminio Gualdoni says "Sumi turns the concept of "acheiropoieta", typical of Western metaphysics, completely upside down. The intervention of a tool autre implicates alienation from any executive intent. It is a precise an-artistic declaration." 

This exhibition is a possibility to see in person very rare works coming from international and prestigious Museums and private collections.

The limited numbers of works executed is the peculiarity which distinguishes the works by Guitai movement's founders. The movement has always been far away from the business way of thinking, a different behaviour would have been in contrast with the basic principles of the group.

The interest of international collectors towards Gutai artists is growing nowadays. Very high prices have been achieved, especially during the last three years. 2015 represents a break in the group's market history. Their position in the auction houses is now close to artists like Fontana and Rothko.

ABC-ARTE, thanks to the collaboration with Flaminio Gualdoni, curator of exhibitions of Fontana, Manzoni, Pomodoro, Oppenheim, will analyze the Gutai Group through one of his most active members. Yasuo Sumi, who recently passed away on October 12th, 2015.

He was one of the most recognised artists between the original members of this artistic movement. 

The exhibition will show seventy works, divided by decades of realisation, starting from the Fifties. Each section will follow an educational diachronic itinerary, comparing the major historical - artistic events and the most relevant postwar personalities, to create a complete and suitable profile of the artist. Each section will be accompanied by learning panels and photos of the artist's performances.


A new precious book of the ABC-ARTE series, in Italian and English, will be dedicated to the event. It will include an essay by Flaminio Gualdoni and many detailed studies on the artist, such as full chapters from the autobiography by Yasuo Sumi, specifically translated from Japanese for this occasion. As it happened with "Shozo Shimamoto, Samurai acrobat of the sight", an important detailed study on the Gutai movement and Master Shimamoto mentioned by the catalogues of exhibitions such as "Gutai Splendid Playground" at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, this new volume will be distributed for free through the libraries of museums.


Thanks to the Cutural Association Spazio Arte dei Mori, Venice, for collaborating to the organisation of this exhibition


Short Biography

Born in 1925, he joined the Gutai movement in 1955. He took part to all Gutai's exhibitions, from the first to the twenty-first, creating a proper revolution in Japanese contemporary art. The group welcomed the changes coming from a new social and cultural society, so they deeply modernised Japanese art.

Later he became a member of the Art Club, represented by Taro Okamoto.

He has been invited by the modern art museums in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Ashiya, Ciba, Miyagi, Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Itami, Shibuya. He showed his works also at the most important art galleries in Tokyo, Osaka and Itami. In 1993 he takes part to the 45° Venice Biennale (Path to the East) with an ambitious project financed by the Japan Foundation and supported by the Italian Government. We shall remind the exhibitions at Galerie National du Jeu de Paume in Paris, Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, Cultural Exchange Center (solo exhibition), Auckland Museum in New Zealand, Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, Turin Figurative Gallery, International Aesthetic Studio, Art Center in MIlan and other solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom and China. Today his works are in the collections of many museums, ateliers and art galleries all over the world. Sumi has been also a member of the AU Group and has taken part to their exhibitions.


Sumi used to wear geta (traditional Japanese footwear) during his performances. Geta became one of his symbols, together with soroban (Japanese abacus) and bangasa (Japanese paper umbrella). However, Sumi used these objects in a very unique way. Soroban was not used to count, but to create curved and parallel lines at the same time, after pouring Japanese ink on paper or canvas. Bangasa was used to hit the canvas violently, so it could be damaged. The same for bangasa. Sumi also used vibrating devices a lot. Little and simple engines were fixed with a rotor to the palette. When approaching the canvas, the palette would spread the colours all over in a rhythmic way.


Selection of collections and exhibitions in Japan

After joining the Gutai movement in 1955, Sumi becomes a member of the Art Club, represented by Taro OKAMOTO. Both groups broke up a little later. Sumi took part to all Gutai exhibitions: from the first to the twenty-first. He has been invited by public museums such as the Tokyo City Modern Art Museum, Kyoto City Modern Art Museum, Hyogo Prefecture Museum (Yamamura Collection), Osaka City Modern Art Museum, Ashiya City Museum, Chiba City Art Museum, Miyagi Prefecture Art Museum, Fukuoka City Art Museum, Kitakyushu City Art Museum, North Kyushu Art Museum, Itami City Art Museum, Shibuya Art Museum, Tanabe Art Museum, Itami Museum, Urawa Museum, Miyazaki Museum, Nakamoto Seishi Art Museum (Sendai), Osaka University, Itami Town Hall, Culture Institute of Itami, Itami Hospital, Itami City Hotel.

Sumi was also in several exhibitions organised by other art galleries in Tokyo, Osaka and Itami.


Selection of collections and exhibitions abroad

Sumi was invited by the 45th Venice Biennale (Path to the East). The Japanese Foundation sponsored the event. There were a lot of Sumi's exhibitions abroad: Galerie National du Jeu de Paume in Paris, New York's Martha Jackson Gallery, New York Cultural Exchange Center (solo exhibition) in the United States, Auckland Museum in New Zealand, Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, Gallery of Decorative Arts in Turin, International Aesthetic Studio in Turin, Art Center in Milan, Morra Foundation in Naples, Art Academy in Helsinki, Finland, Rotterdam Design House in the Netherlands, Off Center in Canada, and even more in the United Kingdom and China.

Most of his works are now in private collections and museums.