Born: Osaka, 1946
Period of Membership in GUTAI: 1965-1972
Imai learned about Gutai through a TV program which he happened to see while studying Western-style painting at the art department of Osaka Prefectural Kogei Senior High School, later visiting the Gutai Pinacotheca at the invitation of his classmate Akira Arita. In 1964, his solo exhibition ”Testimony of a 17-Year-Old”, which was held at Noonu Gallery in Osaka, caught the attention of Jiro Yoshihara and other Gutai members, and was exhibited at the 14th Gutai Art Exhibition. The following year in 1965, he officially joined the group and became a member.
During his Gutai period, Imai produced many white pieces. Typical examples include deformed canvases with a round projections and a piece in which rubber stretched over a base was made to bulge out using electricity. Amongst the Gutai artists, whose use of colorful primary colors was conspicuous, Imai expanded his work to the entire exhibition space by using white, which, while ”a passive color, is also a color that envelops everything”.