Saburo Murakami

Born: Kobe, 1925. Died: 1966
Period of Membership in GUTAI: 1955-1971

Murakami graduated from the philosophy department of Kwansei Gakuin University, where he also later studied art. In 1949, he apprenticed under Tsuguro Ito, exhibiting at the Shin Seisaku Kyokai [New Production Association] Exhibition the following year under the name “Murakami-Hiko”. He formed the “Zero-Kai” [Zero Society] along with Kazuo Shiraga and Akira Kanayama, who he had met at the exhibition, in 1952.

He met Jiro Yoshihara at the venue of a dual exhibition between himself and Shiraga the following year and joined the Gutai Art Association in 1955. At the 1st Gutai Art Exhibition, he presented “Passing Through” (commonly known as ”kami-yaburi” [paper breaking]), in which he broke through 21 sheets of kraft paper stretched tight over a frame. This became a work which was symbolically spoken of as the “action” in the early stages of Gutai’s activities. He also released many works evoking the process of contemplation, such as a wooden box containing a clock, a glass box in which air was trapped, and a painting which peeled off over time. His production style continued to change, with him producing works by layering vivid colors using intense strokes and creating tableaus with plaster, cloth, and the like pasted on.