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File.9Yokohama Museum of Art "Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa - The Changeable and the Unchangeable" Exhibition
Miyuki Inoue (Magcal Editorial Department)
Isamu Noguchi's "Akari" series is widely known because it is still manufactured and sold as a lighting fixture. But who is "Saburo Hasegawa"?
The subtitle of the exhibition is “Rediscovering Japan in the 1950s.” In terms of the United States, where Noguchi was based, it was the heyday of the “mid-century.” I'm sure Saburo Hasegawa also left behind stylish works. I feel like I'm about to meet a wonderful world...
I went to a preview for the press that was held just before the opening. Gallery talks by the curators will also be held during the exhibition, but I can only take pictures of the exhibition room on this day, so I took the place of the readers and participated with a digital camera in hand.
This is Isamu Noguchi's Garden Elements, which has been on display at the Grand Gallery since Friday, November 16, 2018, prior to the opening of the exhibition. Created using Mannari stone from Okayama, this masterpiece has not been shown to the public for a long time since it was announced at a solo exhibition in New York in 1959.
Up to this point, there is no admission fee, so first of all, I would like to take a closer look at the works in a bright and spacious space. If you think "Oh~", go to the ticket window!
Born to a Japanese father and an American mother, Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was a sculptor who was active mainly in the United States. Saburo Hasegawa (1906-1957) was a painter and critic who traveled to Paris in the early 1930s and became active in the United States after meeting Noguchi.
The two met in 1950, when Japan was under U.S. occupation, not long after the war, and they sympathized with each other's ideas. Hasegawa becomes a guide for Noguchi, who was planning to travel around Kansai to visit old cultural heritage sites. Gardens, architecture, ink painting, calligraphy, tea ceremony, clay figures, bronze bells, pottery, haiku, Zen, Taoism, etc. From that experience, how did the idea of "integration of the old East and the new West" shared by the two come to fruition as a work? I stepped into the exhibition room feeling like I was exploring a bit of an academic world.
The exhibition consists of six chapters, arranged so that the works of Hasegawa and Noguchi can be viewed alternately and sometimes in parallel.
Chapter 1 of that. When I saw Hasegawa's work for the first time, I was surprised because it was so avant-garde! There are oil paintings, photographs, collages, prints, rubbed copies, and so on. It's a pity that the photo doesn't convey that "flying feeling".
Hasegawa was involved in the establishment of the Jiyu Bijutsuka Kyokai before the war, and in 1947 after the war he formed the Nihon Avant-garde Artists Club and resumed his activities as a painter. As you can feel from his career, there was a super avant-garde world that doesn't feel old even now.
There was such a cool person, I'm sorry for my lack of study ... I reflected on it. Hasegawa moved to the United States after meeting Noguchi. After moving his base of operations to the United States, he died at a young age shortly after, and it seems that he was almost forgotten in Japan.
On the other hand, in the United States, he held solo exhibitions and lectures in New York, and after moving to the West Coast, he influenced the artists of the beat generation, and was noted as a darling of the times. However, it seems that after his death, he was rarely talked about because he was "not an American."
It's a wasteful story with only "likely".
When thinking about the relationship between the two, who traveled back and forth between the West and the East and influenced each other from their respective positions, I came across the word "globalization", which has been touted in recent years. Long before those words were said, were they struggling to read the world? The meaning of the title, "things that change and things that don't change," may lie much deeper.
This is Chapter 6, a group of works created after 1954 that Noguchi got hints from Eastern and Japanese culture. The well-known “Akari” and “Garden Elements” exhibited in the Grand Gallery also belong to this category.
Perhaps because there are many opportunities to come into contact with Noguchi's work even in Japan today, this exhibition room somehow calms me down. I may have been nervous without realizing it in the sense of values that I touched for the first time.
In this exhibition, not only the charm of the works themselves, but also social themes such as "cross-cultural exchange" and "globalization" move my heart. During the exhibition period, events will be held by inviting various lecturers, so please use your five senses to experience “what changes and what does not change”.
This event has ended.
《Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa : Things that change and things that do not change》
Date: Until Sunday, March 24, 2019
Venue: Yokohama Museum of Art
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 *Until 20:30 on Saturday, March 2
(Admission until 30 minutes before closing)
Closed: Thursdays, March 22nd (Fri) *Open on March 21st (Thursday/holiday)