The first European touring retrospective of the Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in 20 years at London's Barbican Art Gallery.
Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988) is one of the most experimental and important artists of the 20th century.
The exhibition retraces his six decade career, which spanned sculpture, architecture, dance and design, displaying his inventive and risk-taking approach to sculpture as a living environment. Drawing from The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in New York, as well as private and public collections, the exhibition brings together over 150 works, including an extraordinary range of sculptures – created in stone, bronze, ceramics, wood, aluminium and galvanised steel – as well as theatre set designs, architectural and playground models, lighting and furniture design.
Mostly known as an icon of mid-century design for his celebrated coffee table and Akari lights, Noguchi pushed the boundaries of sculpture by embracing social, environmental and spiritual consciousness. The exhibition describes his early apprenticeship with modern master Constantin Brâncuși in Paris and celebrated Chinese brush painter Qi Baishi in Beijing, moves on to his public and political art projects of the 1930s, and radical dance collaborations with pioneering modern choreographers Ruth Page and Martha Graham.
Interlocking sculptures produced during the 1940s display his outstanding creativity in the face of adversity during the Second World War. Showcasing a large selection of Noguchi’s ceramics made in post-war Japan, we see his innovative approach to traditional craft techniques – as was one of the first sculptors to incorporate these within contemporary practice. His environmental designs produced in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima address themes of violence and peace, while conveying the Los Angeles-born artist’s negotiation of his own biracial identity.
This exhibition is jointly organised and curated by Barbican Centre (London), Museum Ludwig (Cologne) and Zentrum Paul Klee (Bern), in partnership with LaM – Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut (Lille).
Mon – Sun 10 am – 7 pm
Bank Holidays 12 pm – 7 pm
Barbican Centre, Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS, UK