Rising to prominence in the mid-1960s, Suga and other Mono-ha artists eschewed traditional representation and instead explored quotidian materials; investigating the relationship between them and their impact on surrounding spaces. The movement grew both in response to the rapid industrialisation of Japan and also as a reaction to the dominant influences of western art history.
On show at Blain|Southern is the installation Perimeter (Entai), 1985, a significant piece in the artist’s on-going examination of the notion of boundaries. Encircling the space with a perimeter of wood and stone, the artist explores the interaction between the physical realm of objects and the emotional world of the viewer. He aims to reveal universal truths through the paradox of simultaneously dividing and connecting.
“To see the hidden reality of mono is to understand the structure of the world.”
Perimeter (Entai) was conceived to be adaptable to any space in which it is presented by the artist. Whether in a man-made interior or within the natural environment, the location defines the configuration of the installation yet its inherent meaning remains intact. Outdoors, the work responds to variations in the natural environment, whereas indoors it responds to the characteristics of the room. Through the continuity achieved by linking the stone and wooden elements, it transforms an ordinary space into a specific site.
“I constructed Installation pieces, a format that has become quite common today, inside the galleries. I bring a variety of things into the gallery, arranging them and giving them structure so that they occupy the entire space. The Installations are never permanent and can be quickly disassembled or demolished. One might say that I create temporary worlds.”
-Kishio Suga, The Conditions Surrounding an Act.
In parallel to his art making, Suga also engages in written criticism of his own work, in an effort to objectify the physical creative process through language.