‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’, an exhibition uncovering the forgotten photographic and abstract work by Shigeru Ōnishi (Takahashi, 1928-1994), is the latest exhibition unveiled at Bombas Gens Centre d’Art.
Created in collaboration with Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and MEM (Multiply Encoded Messages, Tokyo, Japan), the exhibition showcases the artist’s photographic work alongside many large-scale abstract paintings exhibited for the first time outside Japan.
Ōnishi’s photographs transcend space and time to overlay several moments within a single image. Black and white photographs of cityscapes, trees, portraits, and interiors merge together and are dreamily overlapped with brush strokes and drips. Ōnishi subverted traditional ideas of the dark room by using brushes and sponges to paint emulsion onto photographic paper, acids to create discolouration, and warm chemical baths to manipulate the development process. The result are images that have interesting layers of smoky fragments that grab and hold the attention.
Ōnishi graduated in mathematics from Hokkaido University in 1953, and applied mathematical theories to his image-making process. He specialised in topology, a branch of mathematics interested in the crumpling, stretching, and twisting of space. This interest led him to believe “it is crucial to form images of things rid of all constraints, such as spaces under mathematical conditions or physical time and space.”
After abandoning photography in 1957, Ōnishi concentrated on abstract ink painting, a genre also known as bokusho. The paintings are large and gestural, with bright splashes of colour in his otherwise exclusively black and white oeuvre.
Through his abstract ink painting, Ōnishi came to prominence in the Art Informel circles thanks to his relationship with French art critic Michel Tapié (Senouillac, 1909-1987). Following his death in 1994 Ōnishi’s work fell into obscurity within museum depots, until its recent revival.
An artist that is hard to classify within the artistic movements of his time, Shigeru Ōnishi’s abstract ink and photography work in ‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’ is beautiful and intricate. When the decades between the art’s creation and its current display are taken into account, it becomes extraordinary.
‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’ will be on display at Bombas Gens Centre d’Art in Valencia until 22 January 2023. Entry to the exhibition is free. ‘A Mathematical Proposition’, the book of Shigeru Ōnishi’s work, is also for sale at the gallery.
Report and photography by Julia McGee-Russell
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’ photo copyright Julia McGee-Russell/ ’24/7 Valencia’
‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’ by Shigeru Ōnishi
Exhibition from April 2022 until January 2023
Find out more about ‘In Search of Meta-Infinite’: https://www.bombasgens.com/en/exhibitions/shigeru-onishi/
Opening times: Weds-Sun 11am-2pm and 4-7pm
Location: Av. de Burjassot, 54-56, 46009 València, Spain
Contact telephone: (+34) 963 463 856
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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