• Asobi: Japanese & Korean Postw auction at Christies

    Sale 13430

    Asobi: Japanese & Korean Postwar Art

    11 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 54

    Ay-o (b. 1931)

    Landscape of Three Clouds


    Ay-o (b. 1931)
    Landscape of Three Clouds
    signed and dated Ay-o '54 (lower right)
    oil on board
    183 x 91.2 cm.
    Painted in 1954

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    Ay-O, whose eccentric name is written with two obscure Chinese characters which translate as ‘cloud’ and ‘nausea’, was in fact born named Takao Iijima in 1931 in Ibaraki Prefecture. He was active as an artist in Japan during the 1950s and attracted attention for his brightly-coloured oil paintings. In 1958 he moved to New York, coincidentally the same year as Minoru Kawabata and Yayoi Kusama. In 1963 he became a member of the Fluxus movement which was founded in 1961 and largely active in New York and West Germany, but is remarkable for the central presence of a number of artists from Japan, including Yoko Ono, Takako Saito and Ay-O. He started to use objects in order to establish dialogues with the viewer that can be perceived through the senses. His ‘finger boxes’ involved the insertion of a finger into a hole in the side of a box to feel a material concealed inside (such as beads, hair, nails, sponges), thereby breaking free from the confines of the canvas. He was also known for his performance events when he was active in Fluxus.

    Ay-O represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1966 and at the São Paulo Biennale in 1971 and his work has entered numerous museum collections.

    For a finger box (Finger Box, 1964) in the collection of MOMA, New York, go to:

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    Sogo bijutsu kenkyujo ed., Nippon Andepandan-ten zenkiroku 1949-1963 (Complete Record of Japan Independent Exhibitions 1949-1963), (Tokyo, 1993), p. 120
    Machida City Museum of Graphic Art, Ei-Q to sono nakama-tachi ten (Exhibition of works by Ei-Q and his friends), exhibition catalogue, (Tokyo, 1988), no. 81


    1955: Nana-kai Nippon Andepandan ten, (7th Japan Indépendant Exhibition), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
    1988: Ei-Q to sono nakama-tachi ten (Exhibition of works by Ei-Q and his friends), Machida City Museum of Graphic Art, Tokyo