Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mono-ha: Requiem for the Sun at the Gladstone Gallery

The Gladstone Gallery is presenting Mono-ha: Requiem for the Sun at 530 West 21st Street, New York, NY.

Mono-ha is a Japanese postwar movement that means "School of Things." According to this article:
‘Mono-ha’ refers to a group of artists who were active from the late sixties to early seventies, using both natural and man-made materials in their work. Their aim was simply to bring ‘things’ together, as far as possible in an unaltered state, allowing the juxtaposed materials to speak for themselves. Hence, the artists no longer ‘created’ but ‘rearranged’ ‘things’ into artworks, drawing attention to the interdependent relationships between these ‘things’ and the space surrounding them. The aim was to challenge pre-existing perceptions of such materials and relate to them on a new level.
At first glance the sculptures reminded me of Western artists such as Donald Judd, Christopher Wilmarth, Mark di Suvero, and even Matthew Barney, but I think one of the key things about Mono-ha is the juxtaposition of the permanent with the ephemeral: a granite slab encased in paper, a steel pipe filled with cotton, a lacquered box filled with water. Many of these works were recreated for the exhibit under the artists' guidance.

Lee Ufan was a founding member and, like his retrospective at the Guggenheim last year, the Gladstone exhibit has a quiet serenity that is almost zen with an emphasis on polished craftmanship, spatial balance, and the surreal use of ordinary materials such as wax, lightbubs, and railroad tracks.

The show will be on view until August 3, 2012. Don't miss this poetic meditation on Japanese minimalism and conceptual art.

Kishio Suga
Parallel Strata, 1969/2012 
132.1 x 358.1 x 242.6 cm

Noboru Takayama
Underground Zero (Part), 1969/2003
Railroad ties; light bulb; seven ties
100 x 5 x 9 inches (254 x 13.3 x 22.9 cm); 89 x 100 x 113 inches (226.1 x 254 x 287 cm) overall installed

Nobuo Sekine
Phase of Nothingness--Water, 1969/2012
Steel, lacquer and water
Two parts: 47 1/4 x 47 x 47 1/4 inches (120 x 120 x 120 cm) and 11 7/8 x 86 5/8 x 63 inches (30.2 x 220 x 160 cm)

Katsuro Yoshida
Cut-off (hang), 1969/1986
Wood, rope and stone
Installed dimensions variable

Jiro Takamatsu
Light and Shadow, 1973/2012
Light bulb and stainless steel board
33 x 14 1.8 x 12 5/8 inches (83.8 x 35.9 x32.1 cm) installed

Nobuo Sekine
Phase-Sponge, 1968/2012
Sponge and steel plate
51 7/8 x 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 (131.8 x 120 x 120 cm)

Susumu Koshimizu
Paper (formally Paper 2), 1969/2012
Hempen paper and granite; paper
108 x 108 inches (274.3 x 274.3 cm) / stone: 22 1/2 x 64 1/2 x 64 inches (57.2 x 168.3 x 162.6 cm)

Susumu Koshimizu
Perpendicular Line 1, 1969
Brass and fishing wire
Brass: 3 1/8 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/8 (8 x 8 x 8 cm); Wire: 222 inches (563.9 cm)

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