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An image of Stone, scissors, paper by AY-O


(Japan 1931 – )

Stone, scissors, paper
Alternative title:
Jan ken pon
Place of origin
Shôwa period 1926 - 1988 → Japan
Media category
Materials used
colour silkscreen

73.3 x 54.3 cm image

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "AY-O" '71".
Purchased with funds provided by Yasuko Myer 1986
Accession number
© Ay-o
Contemporary galleries
Further information

AY-O, whose unusual name is written with two obscure Chinese characters meaning 'cloud trailing nausea' (a jokey name), was born Iijima Takao in Ibaragi Prefecture, graduated from Tokyo University of Education and now lives in Tokyo. AY-O is of the generation of younger Japanese printmakers who rejected traditional woodblock techniques, preferring the medium of silkscreen, and looked to the West for new ideas, particularly the USA. The decade 1960-70 saw a lot of young Japanese printmakers, including AY-O, living and working in America. AY-O, as obvious from his preference for bright, bold juxtapositioning of colours, was much influenced by Pop Art. In subjects his prints range from the figurative to the abstract, all depicted in his distinctive rainbow bands of colour. AY-O has been active with the Fluxus group since 1962 and was one of the leading figures of Japanese printmaking of the 1970s.

The subject in this print is based on the children's game of counting to three and then holding one's fist out in one of three ways: flat = paper; clenched = rock; first two fingers apart = scissors. Scissors are stronger than paper; a rock is stronger than scissors as it can smash them; and paper is more powerful than a rock as it can envelop it. The winner is the one whose fist forms the more dominant element.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1986.

Exhibition history (3)

Reflections: Japanese prints from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 02 Jul 1993–08 Aug 1993

Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994

Colourwheel, 30 May 2015–29 May 2016