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Sadaharu Horio. Photo: Axel Vervoordt Gallery.

Sadaharu Horio (1939–2018)

Sadaharu Horio, one of the last living members of the postwar Japanese avant-garde Gutai Art Association, died in Kobe, Japan, on November 3. He was seventy-nine years old. 

Born in 1939 in Kobe, Horio studied with Gutai founder Jirō Yoshihara and in the mid-1960s became one of the youngest members of the group, which sought to release the “scream of matter itself” through a combination of performance, painting, theater, music, and installations. In the 1970s, Horio was a founding member of Bonkura, an art collective based in Paris, and in the 1980s he began his series “A Matter of Course,” or “Atarimae no koto,” which comprised over one hundred exhibitions and performances. Horio sustained a decades-long practice in experimental work, using various found materials such as scrap metal, string, wood, roots, stones, and planks, and became a pioneer of modern Kobe performance art, all while working a factory job at Mitsubishi until 1998. Like Gutai, his practice sought to challenge the boundary between art and life. 

Horio’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Fifteenth Gutai Art Exhibition, Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka (1965); Kyoto Independents (1985); the Yokohama Triennial (2005); the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2011); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2012); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013).

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