In tandem with the iconic site-specific installations he has made since the late 1960s, Suga has constructed assemblages throughout his career. In these works, the artist brings wood, branches, metal, rope, wire, and various other materials into incongruous arrangements in order to reveal the reality of mono (things/materials), and the jōkyō (situation) that binds them. Suga’s holistic view of art’s existence in the world has been influenced by his broad readings of philosophy ranging from Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Kitarō Nishida, Keiji Nishitani, and Mahāyāna Buddhism.
In his recent large-scale assemblages, Suga continues to explore the act of establishing boundaries only to disrupt them. Scene of Elapsed Cause (2017) consists of a red rectangle painted on a white ground, its form interrupted by a horizontal plank. While the red field extends over the middle of the plank, the unpainted ends protrude beyond the white perimeter. Similar acts of displacement occur throughout the body of work on view: in Elements of Elapsing Cause (2017), a blue backboard is traversed by five horizontal bars of unpainted wood, each of which has been sliced into cubes that deviate upwards and downwards in staggered waves. In Latent Laterals—Cause of Marginal Parameters (2017), a black rectangle painted on a wood panel is split into two and partially migrated from the lower left to the top right corner of the work’s outer frame.
The titles of Suga’s artworks are translations of Japanese neologisms that he formulates—sometimes prior to creation of the work, sometimes after. These agglomerations of kanji characters evoke a wide variety of nuances, many of them relating to the interdependence among individual entities and the whole: Marginal Occurrence (2016), Oriented Void (2017), Latent Accumulation (2017), and Rows of Connected Equivalence (2015). The discrepancies between material, perception, and language have been a constant theme in Suga’s writing since the 1960s. Blum & Poe is currently producing an English anthology of Suga’s most important essays, due for publication in 2019.