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Horio Sadaharu (1939 - 2018)


Born in 1939 in Kobe, Japan.
Lived and worked in Kobe, Japan.
Died on November 3 in Kobe, Japan.

Born as the first son of Toshiharu and Masa Horio in Hamanaka-cho, Hyogo Ward, Kobe. Eventually, he will be joined by three siblings - two brothers and one sister. Toshiharu later serves in the military as a cameraman during the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the Pacific War. After the war, he is detained for several months in Sugamo Prison as a war criminal. Following his release, he begins working in the photography section at the Kobe Shimbun newspaper.

Evacuated to his father's hometown in Tottori Prefecture.

During a game of "Cops and Robbers" with some friends, Horio hides in the art classroom, where he is found by the art teacher, Mr. Kioka. After the teacher shows him some books of paintings by the Impressionists and van Gogh, he says: "Anybody could paint this kind of lame picture!" To which Kioka replies: "Well, why don't you try making something better then?" Trying to make fun of the teacher, Horio turns in a painting of a dead fig tree for his winter homework, but instead the picture ends up being displayed at the entrance of the school. Surprised to find this out from a friend who ribs him about the special treatment given to the picture, Horio discovers that his name had been written incorrectly on the label for the painting, and attempting to hide his embarrassment, says:'That's not my picture; there's somebody else's name on it." This event inspires Horio's interest in art and he maintains contact with Mr. Kioka even after graduation.

Enters Kobe Municipal Susano Junior High School and joins the painting club. Being quite athletic, Horio also takes part in the sprinting division of the track-and-­field club and the soccer club.
Around this time he is commended by his uncle Mikio Horio for his good penmanship. This is a surprise because until then he had dreaded calligraphy practice. Besides being employed at the national railroad, his uncle is a strong supporter of the Mingei (folk art) movement, and later serves on the board of directors at the Osaka Mingei Association. He is also on intimate terms with the ceramist Shoji Hamada, one of the key figures in Mingei, and collects countless works.


In his third year of junior high school, Horio is one of several students who represent the school in an English speech contest.
Noticing how absorbed Horio is in painting, his homeroom teacher takes him to meet the Western-style painter Shin Furuya at the Art Research Center in the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. Furuya gives him an invitation letter to meet Masaru Nakanishi, a Western-style painter in the influential Kobe art group Niki­kai, but feeling that his artistic direction is a bit different, Horio ultimately never goes to meet the artist.


Starts working at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries'Kobe shipyard. Though Horio had actually hoped to continue on to high school and art university, he is forced to obey his father's policy that after completing his compulsory education, the eldest son will go to work and support the family. After studying for three years at the shipyard training school, Horio is assigned to the mold loft, where he makes full-scale, cross­sectional diagrams of ship hulls.
He also joins the company's Western-painting club, CPM (a name derived from the first initials of the names Cezanne, Picasso, and Matisse). There is another painting club in the company called Mokuyokai (Thursday Group), but unlike CPM, which allows its members to paint whatever they like, this group invites outside instructors to teach them, so the choice is simple for Horio.

April: Shows his work in the 1st Section of the Shinko Independent Exhibition (held in the third-floor hall of the _Shinko Shimbun_ newspaper). In a review of the event that appeared in the newspaper, Jiro Yoshihara writes of Horio's work, "Though fairly technically proficient, the pictures are plagued with obvious imitations of other artists." Horio doesn't notice the article at the time. In the 2nd Section of the exhibition, focusing on sculpture, there is also a Gutai Group Room, in which the group's early experimental works are shown, but Horio has no recollection of seeing this either.

Horio s first abstract painting is selected for the 10th Ashiya City Exhibition, where he meets Yoshihara, then director of the Ashiya Art Association, for the first time. The canvas has rags and other pieces of fabric attached to it and paint tossed across it. Hoping to see more of his work, Yoshihara asks to visit Horio's studio, but as this is really his only abstract work, he refuses, giving some suitable reason. As Gutai and the Ashiya City Exhibition are seen by Horio's Kobe painter friends as rich posers who make absurd pictures, he keeps the fact that he has participated in the event a secret.
Around the same time, he also submits his work to the Jiyu Bijutsu and the Dokuritsu Bijutsu exhibitions, both held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. At a party for one of the groups, Horio happens to mention that he has also submitted something to the other group, which is seen as an attempt to "play both sides." The closed and sectarian nature of these group exhibitions makes him deeply disillusioned.
The "International Contemporary Art" exhibition, held at the Bridgestone Museum of Art (Tokyo), has a great impact on Horio. Among the artists are American Abstract Expressionists (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, etc.), European Art Informal artists (Georges Mathieu, etc.), and Gutai members like Yoshihara, Shozo Shimamoto, and Kazuo Shiraga.

Around this time, Horio's uncle Mikio, the Mingei patron, invites the textile-dyeing artist Keisuke Serizawa to Azo (Tottori), asking him to add his designs to some of Shoji Hamada's ceramic works. Horio is also invited to watch, but due to Serizawa's poor heath, the visit is cancelled. Mikio is the sort of person who when seeing something beautiful in front of a general store from the window of a bus will quickly get off and go back and buy it. Until that point, Horio has the idea that Mingei is preoccupied with antiques, and therefore, isn't interested, but gradually he falls under the influence of his uncle, who is notable for his unbiased and direct way of looking at things. Mikio also uses many of Hamada's masterpieces in his daily life. Years later, when Horio sees his uncle's collection in the museum, he is surprised to find that he has actually drunk tea from most of the works on display.


Carries a truckload of his works to Yoshihara's house to get his assessment. Yoshihara unexpectedly instructs him to bring the two or three unfinished paintings he has left in the truck to the Gutai Pinacotheca (the group's museum, which was opened in a refurbished storehouse owned by the Yoshihara family in 1962). Shocked by Yoshihara's response, Horio tries to change the older man's mind, but in retrospect he admits that Yoshihara's judgment was sound.


Shows first work with Gutai at the 15th Gutai Art Exhibition in the Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka. Continues to show with the group until its breakup. Experiences doubt in the middle of producing a work for the 16th Gutai Art Exhibition (Keio Department Store, Tokyo), and consults Kazuo Shiraga. Though he follows Shi raga's advice regarding the structural composition of the painting, he senses that the approach is not really his, and ends up with something completely different. As expected, Yoshihara rejects the work, but finally, after making several changes, Horio is allowed to show only one painting, which he is very reluctant about.
Around this time, bringing some works for Yoshihara to see at the Gutai Pinacotheca, Horio is stunned when the group's leader declares: "I really don't know what to do with this kind of stuff." Horio destroys all of the works in the garden behind the building. Convinced he doesn't have talent, he decides to quit painting. Though he had decided to quit Gutai, Horio is urged to bring several small works with caved-in centers to the Gutai Small Works Exhibition at the Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka. But he is discouraged again when Sadamasa Motonaga says: "These are just imitations of Castellani." After Horio tells him that in fact he doesn't even know who Castellani is, Yoshihara says:'These are interesting. Put them all up."


Around this time, Horio is invited by Shozo Shimamoto to teach together at Kyoto University of Education, Horio seriously considers quitting Mitsubishi and taking up teaching as a profession, but Shiraga discourages the idea. Unable to buy the materials he needs due to his low salary, and also lacking sufficient time, he is forced to throw something together using scraps that he has collected at the shipyard. Holds his first solo exhibition at Shinanobashi Gallery (Osaka). The event is organized by the art critic Toru Takahashi, who saw Horio's work in the Gutai Small Works Exhibition the previous December.
Becomes a member of the Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai, and remains with the group until its dissolution in March 1972.
Fails to be selected for the 1st Mainichi Art Competition for French Government― Selected Foreign Study. Around this period, while other Gutai members of the same generation are winning a succession of awards, Horio is passed over and falls into a deep depression. Rejected by the Mainichi Art Competition, at a rundown Osaka bar Horio whines to Saburo Murakami: "I don't have any talent." The artist suddenly grabs him by the lapels and exclaims: "A great artist like you? What are you talking about?" Too late to get home, he spends the night at Murakami's house in Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi. 〇n the way home in the morning, Murakami hands him a copy of Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, but even today Horio's still not sure why. He begins to develop a close relationship with Murakami around this time.


Holds a solo exhibition at the Gutai Pinacotheca in Osaka, featuring his series of paintings with caved-in centers.
Marries Akiko Kimura, who has also shown her work with Gutai.


Recommended for membership in the 22nd Ashiya City Exhibition at the Ashiya Community Center. Remains a member until the dissolution of the Ashiya Art Association in 2008.


Helps produce the "Astrorama" film presentation in the Midori-kan (Green Pavilion) at Expo'70 (Osaka).
Provides artistic support for the Gutai Art Festival (Expo Omatsuri Square, Osaka). Horio's first son, Masaji, is born.


The Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai breaks up.


Horio's first daughter, Aya, is born.
Begins a series of exhibitions with Masaya Sakamoto at the Kyoto Kita-Shirakawa Art Village. In the middle of the mountains on the way from Kyoto to Mt. Hiei, the two create installations, Horio often uses fabric, in the forest near Sakamoto's studio. Difficult to access, the events fail to attract many viewers, but even without an audience, the experience is worthwhile, as it allows the artists to do whatever comes to mind and form a close connection with the site.


Travels abroad for the first time. Visiting Takesada Matsutani in Paris with Sakamoto, Horio stays in Europe for about one month.
From around this time, with Keiichi Nagai, Shigekatsu Matsushima, Toyoharu Miyazaki, and Hideo Mori, Horio begins to hold regular monthly exhibitions at a bar called Bonkura (Kobe). Adopting an open-door policy, the group is also frequently joined by artists such as Chu Enoki, Tatsuo Kawaguchi, Satoshi Saito, and Makio Yamaguchi. After holding exhibitions as the Bonkura Group at Mitsukoshi Department Store and other venues, and developing the'Triangle" Exhibition series with artists from Kobe, Okayama, and Shikoku, the group stalls after about three years.
From around this time, Horio starts to record ideas for works in a sketch book. He has continued this process ever since and at present has amassed over 30.000 sketches.


Serves as a judge in the 29th Ashiya City Art Exhibition at the Ashiya Civic Center.


After seeing a sign that Horio had written in calligraphy for Tor Road Gallery, the doctor and art collector Yukio Tsunemi hires him to create a nameplate for his house. This leads to a close friendship between the two. Unafraid to express a contrary view, Tsunemi becomes one of Horio's most trusted associates.


Opens Higashimon Gallery in a cheap rental space on the second floor of an antique shop on Higashimon-suji. Planning to run the gallery with his friends from Bonkura, who hoped to find a place to show their work freely, Horio is ultimately left to his own devices. The inaugural exhibition, a solo show of Horio's work, only manages to attract seven visitors in five days.
Deeply disappointed by the gallery's dismal opening, despite all of his effort and enthusiasm, Horio begins to suffer from insomnia. An observant coworker at Mitsubishi invites him to a church affiliated with a new religion called Shinto Shindo-kyo, but Horio criticizes the group's leader of the Kobe branch, saying: "All you're doing is ripping off your followers at the expense of a god that you can't even see." The man quickly retorts: "If you're going to deny things that you can't see, why not start with air? As an experiment, plug your nose and mouth, and see what happens when you roll around over there for an hour or so." Though unpersuaded by the religion's teachings, this war of words eventually inspires Horio's interest in visualizing "air," a normally invisible element, and considering what it means to "live".
By the time it closes in
 四85, Higashimon Gallery is thriving as an experimental art space without precedent. In principle, Horio selects the artist, and lend the space


 Governor's Prize, Hyogo Prefectural Exhibition

 Kyoto Independent Exhibition / Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (exhibited successively until 1991)

 Solo exhibition "Gutai Pinakoteka", Osaka.

 "Art Now '70~’80”, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Kobe, Japan
 "Space - Expansion of Perception ’81” Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan

 "Towards the Museum of Tomorrow - Art Theatre" Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Kobe.

 Solo exhibition a tArt Space Niji, Kyoto (since then held every year at the beginning of the year until the gallery closed in 2017)
  Solo exhibition “Ordinary things” Gallery Cuore, Osaka, Japan

 Japan-Hawaii Contemporary Art Exchange Exhibition / ABC Gallery, Osaka, Japan

 Solo exhibition "Artist of the Day Series 20: Teiji Horio: DAY BY DAY’ “, Osaka Contemporary Art Centre, Osaka.


 "Object + Object Exhibition”, Gallery P&P, Seoul, Korea


 "The World of Sumi Ink”, Seibu Hall, Otsu, Japan


 “Abstract 3 artists in Hyogo exhibition" (Tokuki Tanaka, Toshiharu Yoshimi, Sadaharu Horio), Art Hall Kobe, Japan


 "Artists of the Gutai Art Association” Miyagi Prefectural Art Museum

 "The 1st Rokko Island Water Front Open Air Play”, Rokko Island Marine Park, Kobe.

 "Tannan Art Festival (opening performance "Sound addition") “ Takefu Central Park, Takefu, Japan
 "The Age of the Mind: Sculpture and Form”, Takayanagi no Sato, Toyooka

 Solo exhibition "Earthquake Landscape Exhibition”, Kobe, Takefu, Fukui.

 Solo exhibition "Phantom Horio Art I & II”, Hirakata Municipal Gotenyama Art Centre, Hirakata, Japan. 

 Solo Exhibition “Ordinary things; Back to Blank Paper”, Nanorium, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan.

 Solo exhibition “Sadaharu Horio exhibition - Oridinary things”, Ashiya City Museum of Art (daily performance during the 38 days of the exhibition).
 "Future Projections: Theatre of My Life”, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo, Japan

 Air Museum in Hyogo Canal ( Sadaharu Horio + on-site art group 'Air') / Hyogo Canal, Kobe, Japan.

 “ ‘Town' is Museum ‘2004”, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan

 Yokohama Triennale 2005 ( Sadaharu Horio + on-site art collective 'Air’), Yamashita Pier, Yokohama: 82 consecutive days of performance.

 "My Rules Exhibition”, Borderless Art Gallery NO-MA, Omi Hachiman

 "The Spirit of Correspondence”, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

 "IN-FINITUM”, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy.

18th International Tannan Art Festival, Echizen Civic Hall 2011 Frankfurter Positionen : Ordinary things ( Sadaharu Horio + on-site art group "Air") / Frankfurt LAB, Frankfurt, Germany.
 Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio - 'Ordinary things’ " / Axel Vervoord Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium.


 "Explosion - Painting as Action”, Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden

 "Gutai: Splendid Playground (opening performance)", Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA.
 "Tàpies: an artist's perspective”, Museo Fortuny, Venice, Italy.

 Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio: Ordinary things <now>”, BB Plaza Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan.
 Printemps Japonais (Japanese Spring) (Sadaharu Horio + on-site art group 'Air') / Lille, France.
 Solo exhibition "Ordinary things”, Cherry Garden, Gotland, Sweden

 Art Fair "Art Brussels” (invitation from Axel Vervoordt Gallery) / Brussels Expo, Brussels, Belgium
 Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio” Axel Vervoordt Gallery Hong Kong, Hong Kong
 ThinkTank lab Triennale : Two Sticks / Wroclaw Museum of Architecture, Wroclaw, Poland

 Art fair 2016 BAMA, Busan, South Korea
 "Process, Performance, Presence”, Braunschweig Art Centre, Braunschweig, Germany
 A Feverish Era in Japanese Art (opening performance), BOZAR Brussels Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium
  Over 1,000 paintings at Kita Gallery, Nara, Japan (Feb-Nov)

 Art fair 'The Armony show 2017' (invitation from Axel Vervoordt Gallery) / Piers 90 & 92, New York
Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio: Ordinary things”, Okayama Kibi Kogen Art House, Okayama
East Asia Culture City 2017 Kyoto "Asian Corridor Contemporary Art Exhibition" ("Sadaharu Horio + on-site art group 'Air'") / Kyoto Art Centre, Nijo Castle
Ashiya Shrine Art Festival': Liu Changxuan 'Ceramics + (Tortoise) XXXV', Sadaharu Horio 'Things that are natural' / Ashiya Shrine 

 Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio" / Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
 Solo exhibition "Sadaharu Horio" / Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong
 "Catastrophe and the Power of Art" / Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
November Passed away

 "ALIVE_The Art of Continuing Life”, Gallery NAO MASAKI, Aichi, Japan
 Art Islands TOKYO 2019 International Contemporary Art Exhibition / Oshima, Niijima, Shikinejima

 "ALIVE_Living Aspects, Emerging Expressions”, Gallery NAO MASAKI, Aichi
 "Ashiya no Jikan - Time of Ashiya - Large Collection Exhibition”, Ashiya City Museum of Art, Hyogo, Japan

 "ALIVE4_About Sadaharu Horio”, Gallery NAO MASAKI, Aichi, Japan
 "Art Fair Tokyo 2023”, Tokyo, Japan

 "ALIVE5 Sadaharu Horio_The thousand paintings made from scrap wood", Gallery NAO MASAKI, Aichi

 "Ordinary Things, Thousand paintings", BB praza art museum, Kobe

 "Sadaharu Horio, A Thousand Paintings made from scrap wood", VAGUE KOBE, Kobe


Resone "A Tale of 1000 GO 1000 Paintings"

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