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13/10 – 16/12 2017

Mendes Wood DM Brussels is pleased to present Kishio Suga’s first solo exhibition in Belgium. 

Kishio Suga is one of Japan’s most celebrated artists, whose diverse and influential practice spans site-specific installation, assemblage, and performance. 

His career began in 1968, when he started making ephemeral installations out of natural and industrial materials such as wood, metal, wire, and concrete. He quickly gained recognition for works such as Parallel Strata (1969), a rectangular enclosure constructed out of slabs of paraffin wax. By introducing an incongruous yet defined structure of raw material into the gallery space, he sought to reveal the reality of mono (things/materials), and the jōkyō (situation) that holds them together. With these installations and influential essays such as The Start of Disappearance: As Things Deny Things (1969) and Existence Beyond Condition (1970), Suga was identified as a key theorist within a loose group of like-minded artists that later came to be known as Mono-haSchool of Things). Though short-lived, this movement was a major turning point in postwar Japanese art history, echoing the concurrent development of Land Art, Arte Povera, and Supports/Surfaces in the United States and Europe, yet rooted in a specifically Japanese intellectual and cultural context.

On the floor in the center of this exhibition is Placement of Stone Entities (1982/2017), an indeterminate arrangement of stone slabs linked by folded strips of black paper. This is the first time Suga has remade this work since its original inception at Tama Art University, Tokyo, in 1982. Typically he discards his installations at the close of each show and remakes them in accordance with the scale and character of a new site. In tandem with his installation practice, Suga has also made assemblages out of wood, metal, paint, mesh, stone, paper, and innumerable other materials. This exhibition provides a compact survey of this activity, ranging from small-scale reliefs made in the 1970s to his most recent large-scale constructions.

Kishio Suga was born in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, in 1944, and lives and works in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture. Important solo exhibitions from the past two years include Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2016); Dia: Chelsea, New York (2016); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2015). He is frequently included in global survey exhibitions. A re-creation of his groundbreaking outdoor installation Law of Situation (1971) is currently on display in the Gaggiandre shipyard at the 57th Venice Biennale until November 26, 2017, and his work is featured in Japanorama. New vision on art since 1970 at the Centre Pompidou Metz, until March 5, 2018. Other recent group shows include Karla Black and Kishio Suga: A New Order at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2016); Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venice (2013); Parallel Views: Italian and Japanese Art from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, The Warehouse, Dallas (2013); and Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012). 

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