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Ay-O or Ai-O is the artist name of Takao Iijima, born 1931 in in Ibaraki prefecture located at the Pacific coast of Honshu island. Ay-O has become famous in and outside of Japan as "rainbow man". Hi serigraphs and etchings in strong rainbow colors have established his fame worldwide.
First Publication: April 2007
Latest Update: April 2013
Ay-O finished his studies in 1945 at the Tokyo University of Education. Only one year later he presented his works in a small exhibition at Takemiya Gallery in Tokyo. While he was still in Japan he made mainly print works. And he had developed his trademark style of cubistic compositions in strong colors from a very early phase.
Ay-O was fascinated by the colors of the rainbow and the depiction of subjects in spectral colors. For him it was a way to combine modern art with the traditional Japanese view of nature. Often he took typical subjects of traditional ukiyo-e and transformed them into his own language of cubistic compositions and color separations. Sometimes he took an old design by one of the great Japanese masters of ukiyo-e, for instance Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), in order to underline that he considered his own works to be in the continuity of ukiyo-e tradition.
Ay-O's artistic interests went beyond printmaking. In 1958 he went to New York and became a founding member of the so-called fluxus movement. The Llthuanian artist George Maciunas and his artist colleague Yoko Ono, who late would become the wife of John Lennon, introduced him in 1961 to a group of artists. And in 1963 Ay-O began to take part in events and happenings of the fluxus group. His first "rainbow happening" was performed in 1964 in the famous Carnegie Hall in New York.
Later he met other international artists like the poet Emmett Williams, the composer Dick Higgins and the video artist Nam June Paik. With them he extended his activities to Europe. But he continued to cherish his "rainbow philosophy". In 1966 he published his "rainbow manifesto".
Also in 1966 Ay-O represented Japan at the International biennale in Venice. Travels to Europe and India followed. In 1968 and 1969 he teached art at the University of Kentucky. Already at that time his works could be seen in a number of renowned galleries and museums. But after 1996 news about his activities have not been available. His art works have become rare collector items in the art market.
16 sold object(s) by Ai-O born 1931 in our Art Archive
1 signature(s) by Ay-O in our Signature Database
Author: Dieter Wanczura
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