YUKI KATSURAFierce Autonomy
526 W. 26th Street, Suite 814
New York, NY 10001
September 9 - October 30, 2021
Plan your visit, contact:
+ 646 476 8409
Advance appointments are recommended
but not required.
Alison Bradley Projects is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, FIERCE AUTONOMY, seminal paintings by Yuki Katsura (b. Tokyo, 1913-1991). The exhibition features works that have never been exhibited outside of Japan, offering an exceedingly rare opportunity to enter Katsura’s realm of unyielding independence, both in terms of the boundaries of modernist expression as well as her own place as a woman within Japanese society and the world.
Despite the many challenges of being a female artist in Japan’s male-dominated arts community, Katsura’s bold refusal to bend to any conventional mode of expression heralded her impact as a pioneering force in Tokyo’s pre- and post-war painting scene. In truth, she is a pivotal figure in the genesis of the Japanese avant-garde. Katsura destabilized dominant traditions throughout her six-decade oeuvre, defiantly proclaiming that she must “resist Fauvism, resist Surrealism, and paint pictures that are no one's but my own.”
FIERCE AUTONOMY concentrates on Katsura’s lifelong engagement with representation and abstraction, revealing shrewd political proclivities that earned the artist critical acclaim and notoriety within Japan, but may have been impenetrable to western critics at the time. In particular, this exhibition showcases paintings produced during formative moments in Katsura’s six-decade career: representational works from the pre- and post-war when she was uniquely positioned as a woman in the center of the Japanese painting world, and her experiments into abstraction in the early 1960s following her solo travels to Paris, New York City, and the Central African Republic, where she interacted with luminaries of the art world including Yves Klein, Michel Tapié, Jean Cocteau, and Yayoi Kusama, as well as Betty Parsons and her circle. Katsura’s experiments with materiality, spatial depth, and color can be retrospectively appreciated as mirrors into the artist’s psyche as she negotiated the rapidly shifting politics of gender roles and aesthetic traditions that surrounded her in these distinctive locales.
The stylistic breadth of works included in the exhibition sheds light on Katsura’s tireless commitment to experimentation at the height of her career, highlighting the artist’s pursuit of aesthetic freedom and individual subjectivity as she challenged politics and conventions from the forefront of Tokyo’s avant-garde.
Curated by Eimi Tagore-Erwin