Opening Reception: Thursday, January 8, 6-8pm
Blum & Poe is very pleased to present a concise survey of Kishio Suga, one of the leading figures of Mono-ha (School of Things), a loose group of artists that rose to critical prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is Suga's second solo exhibition with the gallery and his first solo presentation in New York.
The Mono-ha artists took natural and industrial materials, such as stone, glass, metal plates, wood, paper, cotton, wire, rope, and water, and arranged them in mostly unaltered, ephemeral states. Suga articulates his approach to materials as an ongoing investigation of "situation" and the "activation of existence," focusing as much on the interdependency of these various elements and the surrounding space as on the materials themselves.
The exhibition features several site-specific installations that are enigmatic manifestations of horizontal and vertical tension, weight, and gravity. Among them, Fieldology (1974/2015) is a low, fence-like expanse of rope strung diagonally across a gallery and partially obscured by a mound of off-cuts. Outside on the terrace, Dispersed Spaces (2015) consists of seven concrete vessels from which seven twenty-foot-tall metal rods rise up and arc down, tethered by the weight of a rock at each end.
One room is dedicated to Suga’s wall-mounted assemblages, spanning the early 1970s to 2014. Made of all kinds of materials, these works reveal the spontaneous and intuitive character of Suga’s practice. The artist has variously tied, bound, stacked, cut, glued, painted, taped, wedged, leaned, peeled, nailed, carved, bent, and folded these materials into their current forms. The exhibition will also include important works on paper from the mid-1970s.
Kishio Suga was born in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, in 1944, and currently lives and works in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture. He received a BFA in oil painting at Tama Art University, Tokyo, in 1968. Since then, he has had numerous solo exhibitions in Japan, including at the Yokohama Museum of Art and the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. This exhibition at Blum & Poe coincides with major solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan. Suga’s work has also been included in landmark surveys, such as Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy, 2013; Parallel Views: Italian and Japanese Art from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, The Warehouse, Dallas, Texas, 2013; Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012; Reconsidering Mono-ha, National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2005; Japanese Art after 1945: Scream Against the Sky, held at Yokohama Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1994; Japon des Avant Gardes 1910–1970, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1986; and the 8e Biennale de Paris. 1973.