Yasuo Sumi – Biography

Yasuo Sumi (1925-2015) is known as one of the action painters of the Gutai movement. After joining the Gutai in 1955, and having participated in all the exhibitions of the movement, from the first to the twenty-first, and later in the Art Club directed by Taro Okamoto, Sumi is now a member of the AU Group, whose exhibits invariably participates .

During the mid fifties, the meeting with Shimamoto can be considered the turning point in Sumi’s abstract education as an artist. Shozo Shimamoto, fascinated by Sumi’s natural vocation in using the colour in a wild and dirty manner, involved Sumi in the group of the Gutai painters, founded by Shimamoto himself and Jiro Yoshihara, the pioneer of Japanese abstract art. Sumi officially was part of the Gutai Group in July 1955 attending the “I outdoor exhibition”, organised by the artists in Ashiva town.
In the following season, the Gutai Group was recognised both in Europe and in USA as the privileged speaker of Action Painting and as an independent antecedent of the new western experiences such as happenings and performances. Sumi joined in allthe group initiatives, deeply developing his concept of art as direct expression of natural vitality by means of the colour and the action.
His paintings, disharmonious and dense, were soon appreciated for all their instinctive and spontaneous originality thanks to the important reviews of Jiro Yoshiara. Yoshiara quoted Sumi among the members of the Group in all his public interventions, issued among the ’50s and 60s’ within the Gutai Journal. In the essential Manifesto of Gutai art, dated December 1956, (published in Geijutsu shincho magazine), Sumi is mentioned for his original way of painting by using a vibrator to spread frantically the colour on the canvas. Some important experiences of Art and Theatre belonged to the early seventies, where Sumi, on the stage inside a vinyl box, threw against the walls and scattered himself water down paint.

The most relevant museums
Art Museum of Hyogo Prefecture (Yamamura Collection), Art Museum of Miyagi Prefecture, North Kyushu Art Museum, Ashiya Museum, Osaka Contemporary Art Museum, Tanabe Art Museum (Wakayama Prefecture), 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, New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Torino, Calgary, Vienna, Helsinki, Toulouse, etc.