Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.559882
Title: Object into action : group Ongaku and Fluxus
Author: Kawamura, Sally
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2009
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Abstract:
This study focuses on the relation of three Japanese artists to Fluxus: Takehisa Kosugi, Mieko Shiomi, and Yasunao Tone. In the early 1960s, these three were part of a free improvisational music group in Tokyo called ‘Group Ongaku’ (Music Group). In Group Ongaku, partly through concerns with l’objet sonore, they moved from focussing on sound only, to a concern with performing action as music. From 1961 onwards, they came into contact with Fluxus ‘leader’ George Maciunas via the experimental composers Toshi Ichiyanagi and Nam Jun Paik, and artist Yoko Ono. Kosugi, Shiomi, and Tone all participated in Fluxus activities in New York. Although their contributions have been mentioned in Fluxus publications, the relation between their early work in Group Ongaku and their later work in Fluxus has not been discussed thoroughly. This study aims to show why their work appealed to Maciunas, and bore similarities to the work of other Fluxus artists, resulting in a mutual appreciation. I wish to demonstrate that this was not just a simple matter of the Japanese artists having been influenced by Fluxus or John Cage, but that the beginnings of their experimentation and the development of their work was rooted in their own context in Japan. A view of Fluxus as an international group where specific, local concerns were also relevant to the artists that participated in it will be supported. Shared influences between some members of Fluxus, and Group Ongaku, such as Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and ethnomusicology ensured concerns with action, chance, the unconscious and re-evaluation of familiar environments and objects. This, for Group Ongaku, was set against the social and political tension of 1960s Tokyo, where World War II was still fresh in the memory of many citizens. Millions of protesters were taking to the streets fearing another war if America were allowed to continue with military bases in Japan, and the superficial happiness of middle-class workers wishing to make a good standard of living from the economic boom was being critiqued by artists. Close readings of each individual’s work bearing relevance to Fluxus are presented in the final part. This will be the first study to present chapter-length, in-depth readings of Group Ongaku members’ work together in the context of Fluxus. As close readings of the work of these three artists are scarce, this will contribute to the understanding of them. Japanese artists in Fluxus are numerous, yet under-studied as individuals in Fluxus contexts, and it is hoped that this study will add to Fluxus studies another perspective on the relation between Fluxus and Japan. Additionally, this will provide the first PhD-length study in English or Japanese on Group Ongaku’s relationship to Fluxus.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.559882  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N Visual arts (General) For photography ; see TR ; NX Arts in general ; NB Sculpture
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