Toshio Yoshida


burnt wood
9 1/8 x 26 1/4 inches

A founding member of the Gutai Art Association when it began in 1954, Toshio Yoshida experimented continuously with his approach to materials. For these rare Burn Paintings (approximately 20 were made in the first years of Gutai), Yoshida placed red hot coals and soldering irons on wood panels to scorch the material with varying intensity, creating works aesthetically similar to Japanese ink painting. Yoshida’s Burn Paintings predate the 1955 Combustioni works of Alberto Burri and the performative fire paintings of Yves Klein in 1960. By working with the natural pairing of fire and wood, Yoshida formed compositions from a single material in an altered state – unburnt and burnt wood – elegantly showcasing the creative and destructive power of fire. This piece and his other innovative paintings, performances, and sculptures were included in the exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim Museum in 2013, and his work – including two works from this series – is represented extensively in The Rachofsky Collection and can be found in numerous Japanese museums.