Born in Osaka in 1940, Keiji Usami was an artist representing the Japanese contemporary art scene. Usami began to teach himself painting, and he started systematic creation of paintings by employing four human figures taken from a news photograph of the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, circles and gradation. In 1966, Usami’s work was exhibited in The New Japanese Paintings and Sculpture at MoMA in NY. In 1968, Usami unveiled LASER=BEAM=JOINT, the first work in Japan using laser beam. His work from the same series exhibited in Japan World Exposition, Osaka 1970 received attention. Usami continued producing his works both in Japan and abroad, including those exhibited at the Venice Biennale 1972. The four symbolized human figures, which Usami repeatedly used and transformed, became his lifelong motif to compose paintings as “thinking space” for people of the same era and their world experience. Usami wrote a number of books and practiced his art theory described in the books in creating paintings.
Wondering After Hiroshima joined the collection of Sezon Museum of Modern Art after the work was exhibited at After Hiroshima: Nuclear Imaginaries held at Brunel Gallery in University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in 2005. On the canvas painted in red, human figures wiggle as if to frantically escape from roaring fire, and the structure to bond them has been burned down. Viewers witness vanishment of the pictorial space controlled by elaborate structure and order as well as birth of a liberated pictorial space brought by demolition of the existing system.