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Toshimitsu Imaï is a Japanese painter born in 1928 in Koyto, who died in 2002. He was part of the Japanese avant-garde of the 20th century. He moved to Paris in 1953 and two years later, he devoted himself solely to abstract painting. He was the first Japanese artist to join the Art Informel group. He is close to the critic Michel Tapié and artists like Dubuffet, Fautrier, Fontana... But Imaï was also part of the Gutai Art Association, known for its innovative, conceptual, interactive artworks. This group has made a name for itself by the places in which it chooses to exhibit parks, public spaces, stores... It claims itself as an alternative to other artistic movements of its time, such as surrealist or socialist figurative art, or geometric abstraction. "Gutai" means "concrete" in Japanese, and this is the ambition of this group: to stay in touch with "life". Imai himself fluctuated between figurative and abstract; in the 1970s, he even integrated poetic texts into his paintings. Imai's works were exhibited in many prestigious events: Sao Paulo Biennial in 1953, Venice Biennial in 1960... in 1962, he was awarded at the 5th Japanese Contemporary Art Exhibition. He is considered today as one of the initiators of Western art in Japan in the second half of the 20th century.

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