|Katsuro Yoshida... I love his silk screens!|
I happened upon "Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-Ha" curated by Mika Yoshitake at Gladstone Gallery. According to the press release...
This exhibition examines the postwar Japanese artistic phenomenon Mono-ha (School of Things). Representing a key art historical turning point, “Requiem for the Sun" refers to the death of the sun as emblematic of the loss of symbolic expression and permanence immanent to the object in Japanese postwar art practice.
‘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.
The name ‘Mono-ha’ was actually more of a label applied to the group, and its origins are as elusive as any precise definition of the movement.1 Usually translated rather awkwardly as ‘school of things’, it is a misleading name: Mono-ha works are as much about the space and the interdependent relationships between those ‘things’ as the ‘things’ themselves. Making the viewer become aware of his position in relation to the work is also something which the Mono-ha artists aimed for.
And as far as ‘groups’ go, Mono-ha was a fairly loose one: something of a conglomeration of interlinking relationships between the various artists involved. Ideologies were not necessarily shared by all members of Mono-ha, so it was not a coordinated ‘movement’ as such. Roughly speaking, Mono-ha is thought of as centring around Nobuo Sekine, Lee Ufan, Katsuro Yoshida, Susumu Koshimizu, Koji Enokura, Kishio Suga, Noboru Takayama and Katsuhiko Narita. Below I will give a simple introduction to some of their key works and the ideas behind them.