Tsuruko Yamazaki


dye, lacquer, and thinner on tin
18 7/8 x 18 7/8 inches

Tsuruko Yamazaki was part of the first Gutai exhibition in 1955 with her work Tin Cans, a loose stack of 30 cans painted metallic blue. Tin became her preferred material, and she has remained dedicated to painting on the industrial metal up to the present. Like many of the Gutai artists, Yamazaki’s early pieces favored a degraded, worn, or violent creative process – or a “damage of time and destruction,” as Jiro Yoshihara wrote in the Gutai Manifesto in 1956 – believing it would reveal the true nature of the materials. As her work has matured, Yamazaki’s paintings exhibit a more refined paint application, though she still works on tin for its reflective, malleable quality and industrial associations. In this work from 2009, dye and thinner swirl and pool around the metal surface. The tin becomes stained, and a halo effect appears around the edges where the metal has absorbed the color. Yamazaki participated in many of the early Gutai exhibitions throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, and her work has been exhibited internationally ever since, including a 2004 solo exhibition at the Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, Reflection:Tsuruko Yamazaki. Her work is included in numerous public collections, including the Ashiya City Museum of Art and History; Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art; Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Art; Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art; National Museum of Art, Osaka; Osaka City Museum of Modern Art; Takamatsu City Museum of Art; and The Miyagi Museum of Art.