Shozo Shimamoto Association
The Shozo Shimamoto Association was founded in Italy and Japan in 2007 by Rosanna Chiessi, Laura Montanari and Giuseppe Morra with the aim of promoting and supporting the artistic research of Shozo Shimamoto, not only through the production of catalogues, videos and documentaries, but also by holding some of the performances that have made him world famous.
Along with this artistic production, the Shozo Shimamoto Association has engaged in a critical and historiographical study of the Master's work, as well as the organisation and management of a general archive, also thanks to the help of Andrea Mardegan working in Japan.
This exhibition is part of our on-going work, creating an ideal opportunity for critical and expository dialogue between the youthful work of the nineteen-fifties and what the Master is producing today. It is a dialogue that takes place in time, because it concerns two moments separated by fifty years, but also separated in space. Whereas Shimamoto's fifties were spent in the East, in Japan, the first decade of the twenty-first century has been mainly Western, because it is here that the Master has done some of his most important performances.
The dialectic between these two historical moments tells the story of a singular, important and unique artistic process. In the fifties, Shimamoto began to work as a painter, and in the name of a new conception and practice of painting he began to focus on action, which gradually turned into performance. On the other hand, the large-scale Italian performances of the last few years have gone in the opposite direction: they use large sets with their own visual independence, reflected in the creation of works which are the result of that representative public moment. A comparison of works so diverse, the decision to showcase the representative moment, documenting it as an independent and important event, is a way to penetrate Shimamoto’s poetic world better and more deeply, to understand not only its value but also its transformation over time.
East and West, painting and performance, the fifties and the twenty-first century: the exhibition at Palazzo Magnani and the catalogue which documents it aim to relate this dialectic and this journey. The living testimony of an artist whose strength is life, vitality and respect for existence, an artistic and human creed that has led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.