Shuji Mukai

Born: Kobe, 1940
Period of Membership in GUTAI : 1961-1972

Having lived in Ashiya during middle school, Mukai had been aware of the Gutai group’s activities since the 1950s, when they held the “Experimental Outdoor Exhibition of Modern Art to Challenge the Mid-Summer Sun” and other Gutai Outdoor Art Exhibitions. He first exhibited at the 8th Gutai Art Exhibition in 1959. At the 10th Gutai Art Exhibition the following year, he presented pieces filled with symbols. He created works themed around a “symbolization” overcoating the value of everything, such as “Symbol Room”, wherein the symbol-covered artist himself entered the piece, and a jazz café called “Check”, in which the entire interior of the café was covered in symbols. Through his ”symbolization”, which forcibly strips away the meaning of things, he casts doubts on existing fixed values. His activities are not limited to the field of fine arts. For example, after the disbanding of the Gutai group, he demonstrated his endless ideas in a variety of fields, including store design, fashion, and business development aimed at medical professionals. These are all underpinned by a stance of not being bound by existing values and not becoming stereotyped, or a mere shell.