James Lee Byars

James Lee Byars was born in 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, and died in 1997 in Cairo. He moved to Japan in 1958 and became fascinated by Nô theatre and Shinto rituals. In his works, the emotional, abstract and symbolic elements of eastern culture are combined with his knowledge of western art and philosophy. With his installations, works on paper and memorable performances, Byars addressed the boundary between art and life, and embodied the synthesis of different movmements: from orientalism to conceptual art, and from minimalism to the Fluxus experiments. Throughout his career, Byars combined geometric forms with luxurious materials such as marble, precious woods, red roses and above all gold-leaf, the colour of which, for him, symbolised eternity, beauty and perfection.

His work was included in the exhibitions 'Prima Materia' (2013-15) and 'Untitled, 2020' (2020) at Punta della Dogana.

Byars is Elephant – Prima Materia