What is that?


Throwing paint, breaking things and doing things that had never been done before! Find out more about the Gutai group

Gutai were an art group in Japan in the 1960s who broke a lot of boundaries, as well as things! They saw their art as a way to do things people had never done before, like painting with their feet, running through paper screens and throwing bottles of paint at a canvas so they exploded! How they made their art was as important as what it looked like. What they did was called performance art.

They thought kids had creative superpowers! Lots of their work was inspired by children and they wanted them to be part of the art they made. They ran workshops for kids, organised exhibitions of children's art, and they invited kids to write for their magazine called Kirin (which means giraffe). Children's art was used on the cover of the magazine, alongside art by adults.

Please draw freely

Yoshihara Jirō, Please Draw Freely, 1956. Paint and marker on wood, approximately 200 x 450 x 3cm. Installation view: Outdoor Gutai Art Exhibition, Ashiya Park, Ashiya, 27 July – 4 August, 1956

The movement was founded by artist Yoshihara Jirō, who made a playful artwork called Please Draw Freely that he staged in a park. Children and adults could draw on massive boards. Over time, the drawings layered over each other, and they made a collective artwork. It was important to the Gutai group that adults and children could all join in and make something together.

Can you imagine something that has never been done before? Could you make it into a piece of art?

Part of UNIQLO Tate Play in partnership with UNIQLO. Please visit the Tate website with an adult.

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