The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

EI-KYU’s real name was Hideo Sugita. He studied painting at Nihon Bijutsu Gakko and began writing art reviews from when he was sixteen. In 1936, he published a collection of photograms entitled Nemuri no Riyu (Reason for Sleep) and it was from then that he used the pen name EI-KYU. In 1951, he formed the Demokrato Artists Association. He played a pioneering role in postwar Japanese art.

Beginning from figurative oil paintings of landscapes or people, EI-KYU produced many experimental works going to-and-fro between figuration and abstraction and including visionary expressions. The final method of expression he reached was abstract painting in pointillism. This painting was done the year before the artist died at the age of 48. He had been painting works composed of mainly organic forms in a freewheeling way from the latter part of the 1940s. From around 1957, he began to produce works in which the paint was sprayed on with an air compressor. The following year, numerous circles and cell-like patterns appeared on his canvases and they eventually evolved into the pointillism demonstrated in this painting. In his later years, EI-KYU pursued this expression to the point of obstinacy.

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