ONO Tadahiro(1913-2001)

ONO Tadahiro was born in 1913 in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. His fourteen-year-older brother was the archaeological researcher ONO Tadamasa, and his ten-year-older brother was the archaeologist and painter ONO Tadaakira . In 1933, Tadahiro enrolled in the sculpture division of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. While studying there, he also began to visit the studio of the Western-style painter CHOKAI Seiji and produce oil paintings. Upon graduating in 1938, he took a position as an art teacher at Tokushima Prefectural Tomioka Junior High School (now Tokushima Prefectural Tomioka Nishi High School). He would later go on to teach at Fukui Prefectural Mikuni Junior and Senior High School. He presented “Epigone” at the fourteenth exhibition of the Free Artists Association in 1950 and continued to regularly present works there until 1959. In 1953, he was appointed as an adjunct lecturer in the School of Engineering at the University of Fukui. Around 1955, he began to have contact with the poet SO Sakon. At the 1957 New Artists of Today Exhibition, he won the New Artist’s award together with SAITO Yoshishige. In that same year, he was also featured in the World Contemporary Art Exhibition curated by art critic Michel Tapié at the Bridgestone Museum of Art. Tadahiro’s sculpture “Kaguroi-za” was featured at the fifth São Paulo Art Biennial in 1959. In that same year, he presented “Antiproton” at the fourth Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan. Around this time, he began to be recognized as a champion of the “junk art” movement for his works resembling collages of found objects such as used goods, flotsam, and waste materials. He presented at the thirtieth Venice Biennale in 1960 and formed a contemporary sculpture group with artists such as ARAKAWA Shusaku, TATEHATA Kakuzo, and YAMAGUCHI Katsuhiro. After retiring from his post at Fukui Prefectural Mikuni High School in 1973, he toured Europe in the following year and also returned to Aomori for the first time in a long while. In 1979, the retrospective “ONO Tadahiro Spiral Galaxy Exhibition” was held at the Tokyo Central Museum of Art. “ONO Tadahiro Exhibition: Genealogy of Meteorites, Jomon, and Sharaku” was held at the Fukui Fine Arts Museum in 1985. Tadahiro left his adjunct position at the University of Fukui in 1987. In the following year, he produced the outdoor sculpture “Materina’s Calendar” in the village of Miyazaki in Fukui Prefecture’s Nyu District. He would go on to produce numerous monumental works in public spaces. Around 1993, he began the “BLUE” series that he would continue until his final years. This series of cosmological paintings features freely dripping lines with crisscrossing trajectories in combination with various items including mechanical parts and flotsam. The mixture of blue and dark indigo gives a sense of mystery. Born from the merging of the materials and the artist’s philosophy, it is a masterpiece of his later years combining passion and finesse. ONO died in 2001 in Fukui.




《man of Tada》
oil on canvas


mixedmedia on canvas