White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to present ‘Isamu Noguchi: This Earth, This Passage’, an exhibition reflecting on the artist's engagement with material, performance and place, spanning works from the 1920s to 1980s.
Over a period of three decades, Noguchi created more than twenty stage sets for the choreographer Martha Graham (1894 – 1991), making explicit the figurative and performative facets of his work. The exhibition includes a key example of their collaboration; a sculptural scenography which served as the setting for Graham’s Dark Meadow (1946), a performance musing on rebirth, relationality and the process of life itself.
Further works in a variety of materials – bronze, hot-dipped galvanized steel, basalt and granite – attest to the interdisciplinary nature of Noguchi’s practice, informed by his travels and belief that art is in a ‘constant process of becoming’.
‘Isamu Noguchi: This Earth, This Passage’ takes its title from a 1962 sculpture by the artist that is on display in the exhibition: a bronze ring cast from clay impressed by his body as he walked over the yielding surface. Preserving physical imprints in its form, the work invokes a central tenet of Noguchi's practice: to expand human consciousness through observable experience and, in turn, enhance one's sense of belonging.
One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was an idealist whose timeless work blended ancient and modern ideas. An itinerant cultural synthesizer, he consistently rejected categorization and the false dichotomies of his time, espoused globalism and anticipated the social practice of art by several decades. Primarily a sculptor, Noguchi’s expansive, interdisciplinary practice included public projects, gardens, playgrounds, furniture, lighting and set design, all informed by an abiding view that nature was of fundamental importance to the human condition and a determination to make work which encouraged this belief.