top of page

Untitled 130630, 1963

oil on canvas and burlap

Burlap is a material Maekawa uses throughout his career, a process reminiscent of Joan Miro and Paul Gauguin, who used it for textural purposes. However, Maekawa is different in that he cuts, slices, glues or sews burlap to traditional canvas. This is what he does in this work in order to give a three-dimensional dimension to his painting. There is a new understanding of the flatness of painting. According to Hirai Soichi, “Although many of the early members did not dispute the obvious fact that the support of a painting was flat, later artists adopted the problem of flatness as a starting point and, by attaching materials to the canvas, strove to realize a new type of pictorial space that transcended the limitations of the support.”

The artists of the Gutai group, and Maekawa in particular, are attempting new approaches and breaking out of the traditional frameworks of art. Just one year before the creation of Untitled 130630, Maekawa joined the Gutai Art Association. Although the name of the group means "concrete" in Japanese, Maekawa's paintings should not be seen as the figurative representation of something. On the contrary, the painter believes that reality cannot be better represented by roundabout means. As a materialist work, this painting is reminiscent of human flesh. The white paint flows are not without evoking bones, more precisely, ribs, which protect the vital parts of the body. By attaching the painted burlap to the traditional canvas, Maekawa reproduces this idea of protection, protecting the original canvas. But two gestures oppose each other in this canvas: the long vertical lines and the splashes of paint. Proceeding like this, the painter opposes two gestures, the slow gesture of the flow of the paint, to the abrupt and violent gesture of the splash. There are thus several rhythms cohabiting in this work: the composition of the painting and the canvas itself. The composition of the canvas is rigorously reflected and organized around a central axis. The burlap cloth rises and falls in a regular manner on the canvas. The original canvas is the recipient of several moments, several moments, now frozen. Untitled 130630 is a work in tension, fixed in an in-between: in the way of applying the paint, but also in tension between several materials and finally in the impression that the painting, however motionless, vibrates.

bottom of page