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sepia EYE: Minoru Hirata

Minoru Hirata

Image

b. 1930, Japan

A freelance journalist since 1955, Minoru Hirata is best known for his work on the Okinawan people and the region’s turbulent geopolitical history (1960s to the present day) as well as his capturing of seminal moments in the “Anti-Art” performance art movement of the 1960s.

Through Ushio Shinohara, one of the founders of the Japanese Neo-Dadaist art movement, he became an intrinsic part of the “Anti-Art” performances. He not only documented the performances given by groups such as Hi-Red Centre and Zero Dimension, Hirata’s intense involvement gives credence to his defined role in these performances as a ‘[co]-conspirator.’ Notable performances which he took part in are the Hi Red Center’s “Dropping Event” of 1964, Nakanishi Natsuyuki’s “Clothespins Assert Churning Action,” and Collective Kumo’s protest street performance which simulated sexual intercourse in busy intersection.

For these striking images of pivotal moments in Japanese art history, as well as his continued Okinawan work, Hirata was nominated for a Discovery Award by curator Simon Baker at the prestigious Arles photo festival in 2011.

“Minoru Hirata’s work in Okinawa, from the 1960s to the present day, is as sensitive, engaged and original as his better-known performance-related practice: showing the same experimental confidence and originality in relation to the politics of everyday life, (under occupation and otherwise), as he did to the spectacular world of the avant-garde.” —Simon Baker

Hirata was born in, and currently resides in Tokyo, Japan. His work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. His publications include Zero Dimension (2006) and Chō-geijutsu/Art in Action (2005).

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