Arata Isozaki: 12×5=60

31 Aug 2014 – 12 Jan 2015

Save Event: Arata Isozaki: 12×5=60

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Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

Tōkyō-to, Japan

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This is an exhibition that focuses on Arata Isozaki’ s concept of "Thoughts Beyond Architecture.


The term "Thoughts Beyond Architecture" used here has two aspects: firstly, the exteriority of architecture that has the ability to concurrently conceive (mannerism) or become concerned with cultural representations of contemporary art, music, moving images, and photography (fields which are contiguous yet irreducible to architecture); secondly, the modern (building) as a dead letter of the previous method of cultural representation mobilized to dismantle and reorganize the theoretical and ideological language of "Architecture." It is no exaggeration to say that this bilateral construction is the tactic of Arata Isozaki, an artist-architect who has exceeded the occupation as an architect. By focusing on his uncanny ability to transcend disciplines, and interpreting his character metaphorically as a "man of arts and letters"ii , the exhibition visualizes "Thoughts Beyond Architecture," a conceptual process within Isozaki’ s complex oeuvre that past exhibitions have not adequately addressed.

The venue is centrally organized around the one-to-one model of the study in Karuizawa called the Tree-Houseiii (the "tree" here means “bird” in Japanese pronunciation), which represents "Thoughts Beyond Architecture." Isozaki leaves his atelier in Tokyo during summer to work at this Tree-House where he disavows his occupation as an architectiv. In this exhibition, we examine how the “man of arts and letters” utilizes his "place to live" to propagate his thoughts on "Architecture" to the rest of the world.

Isozaki’ s view of the city dwellers today as creatures caged in a three-dimensional lattice birdcage has led him to advocate a place to livev. This “dwelling in the context of true nature” vi is a nest for birds and animals that undermine the conventional human birdcage. Then it is perhaps possible to consider the notional undertone of the Tree-House as a resounding basso continuo in the key of "Thoughts Beyond Architecture."

This model of a "place to live" is akin to a bird nest rather than a birdcage. To begin with, "Thoughts Beyond Architecture" concerning the bird harks back to Angel Cage - a human-sized birdcage designed using his ruler shaped like Marilyn Monroe’ s shapely outlinevii – exhibited in MAN transFORM (1976), which was conceptualized by his dear friend Hans Holleinviii and based on the theme of "design." In this piece, a human with wingsix is confined in a cage. Of Angel Cage, Isozaki said:

“The vision from the outside and the vision from the inside, the standpoint of the designer and the standpoint of the designed, are necessarily presented in an absolutely opposite fashion despite their seeming interchangeability. However, this fact seems to be lost to the designers. Which position should one occupy?” x

This thinking was first developed in the MAN transFORM exhibition. However, this metaphor of the cage is a play on word that expands on the theme explored in the highly acclaimed exhibition MA: Space-Time in Japan (1978)xi.

This exhibition focuses on non-architectural elements emerging out of Tree-House that operates as a hub for "Thoughts Beyond Architecture." The compositional layout of the exhibition is broken up into five themes based on the network of Isozaki’ s thinking and each theme presented as a list of twelve talking points. They are: "12 Thoughts Beyond Architecture," "12 Collaborative Works," "12 Places to Live," "12 Travels (The Oriental Volume)," "12 Travels (The Occidental Volume)." We are pleased to present you the actual face of "Thoughts Beyond Architecture” that significantly departs from the past
exhibitions of Isozaki’ s work. 

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