Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha, organized in collaboration with Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. This exhibition examines the postwar Japanese artistic phenomenon Mono-ha (School of Things). Representing a key art historical turning point, “Requiem for the Sun" refers to the death of the sun as emblematic of the loss of symbolic expression and permanence immanent to the object in Japanese postwar art practice. Included in the exhibition are works by Koji Enokura (1942–1995), Susumu Koshimizu (1944– ), Nobuo Sekine (1942– ), Kishio Suga (1944– ), Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998), Noboru Takayama (1944– ), Lee Ufan (1936– ), and Katsuro Yoshida (1943–1999).
Mono-ha's primary tenet explores the encounter between natural and industrial objects, such as glass, stones, steel plates, wood, cotton, light bulbs, leather, oil, wire, and Japanese paper, in and of themselves arranged directly on the floor or in an outdoor field. Evident in these works is a tendency based not on the art historical recuperation of objects, but rather on maintaining an affective relationship between works and our surrounding environment. That is, the works operate as a process of perceiving a perpetually passing present that opens the materiality of the work beyond what is simply seen. These practices are linked to the cultural milieu of process and post-minimalist art apparent on an international level during the 1960s and 1970s. What distinguishes these works is the refined technique of repetition as a studied production of difference developed over time in each artist's practice.
The exhibition shows key installations, works on paper, and photographs that reveal resonant concepts and artistic methods relative to the exhibition. Some themes include perceiving works as actions or events, experiments in topology and spatial continuity, visceral materiality, and the contingency of the body. While the art of Mono-ha has been the subject of exhibitions in Asia and Europe, it is virtually unknown in North America. Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha provides a critical introduction to this extremely significant movement.
A 244-page catalog has been published in conjunction with Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha, which includes an essay with new scholarship by Mika Yoshitake, translations of artists' texts, a chronology of historical exhibitions with accompanying rare installation photographs, and new photography of the works.