Mono-ha

 Mono-ha was an art movement that took place in Japan around the 1970s. With influence from Takamatsu Jiro, who was teaching at Tama Art University at the time, the artists endeavored to redefine pictorial expression. The "Tricks and Vision" exhibition in 1968 displayed works that brought under question the pictorial expression of Western tradition. Takamatsu Jiro and Sekine Nobuo both particiated in this exhibition and it continued to influence Mono-ha activity long afterwards. Also at that time, the categories of the Kobo Exhibitions were changed from "paintings" and "sculpture" to "flat" and "three dimensional". Along with this trend, many three dimensional works were made from 1968 to 1969 that moved away from the act of "making", and instead focused on unprocessed materials like wood, stone, glass, and earth as the main aspect of a work. Many of the artists who made such works came from a background in painting.
 
In Sekine Nobuo's "Phase - Mother Earth", a representative work of Mono-ha, an enormous cylindrical hole is dug out of the earth, and a cylindrical mound of earth of the same dimensions is piled up beside it, as if the earth of the hole had simply been moved over. In Lee Ufan's "Phenomena and Perception B", a large rock is placed on a pane of glass, and cracks run across the surface of the glass, ostensibly from the action of placing the rock.
With these kinds of works, the artists work to be concious of the self and the outside world through material and object. With the opening of exhibitions collecting these works, coverage in magazines, and so on, this movement began to be called Mono-ha.
 
In 1986, the art critic Minemura Toshiaki defined Mono-ha as such:
"Mono-ha refers to a group of artists active in Japan around the 1970s who endeavored to draw out some form of artistic language directly from the state and function of material and objects by using those unprocessed and natural "things" ("mono") as the center on the stage of artistic expression."
(Minemura Toshiaki "What Was Mono-ha" Kamakura Gallery)
 
Mono-ha had a great influence on contemporary art in Japan, and many movements surpassing it came to be later on. Those were referred to as "post-Mono-ha", and the exhibition "Mono-ha and Post-Mono-ha   Japanese Art After 1969" was held at the Seibu Museum of Art in 1987 under the supervision of Minemura Toshiaki.

Related artists: LEE Ufan, SEKINE Nobuo, YOSHIDA Katsuro, SUGA Kishio, NARITA Katsuhiko, KOSHIMIZU Susumu, ENOKURA Kenji, TAKAYAMA Noboru, HARAGUCHI Noriyuki, HONDA Shingo, FUJII Hiroshi, HABU Makoto, NOMURA Hitoshi, INUMAKI Kenji


SEKINE Nobuo "Phase - Mother Earth" 1968
(1970--Matter and Perception 1970 Mono-ha and the search for fundamentals)
LEE Ufan "Phenomena and Perception B" (later renamed to "Relatum") 1969
(Art in Japan since 1969/mono-ha and post mono-ha)
SUGA Kishio "Parallel Strata" Paraffin 1969
(1970--Matter and Perception 1970 Mono-ha and the search for fundamentals)



SEKINE Nobuo
Phase Conception
“The Stone Age”(G25-20)

1988
Phase Conception (Mixed media, gold)
80.0×65.0cm (25)
Signed


SUGA Kishio
"Work 2"

1981 
Silkscreen
50.5x65.0cm
Ed.100
Signed and numbered on back

YOSHIDA Katsuro
"Work 46"

1975
Lithograph
Image size:44.8×29.3cm
Sheet size :65.6×50.4cm
Ed.100
Signed


Exhibitions

2021

◆Art Basel OVR: Pioneers 3/24~3/28


2018

Yoshida Katsuro LONDON 1975  8/24―9/8


Weekly Special Collection: Christo and Nobuo SEKINE  7/6~7/13


◆Nobuo SEKINE Exhibition (Gallery Seiho) 6/18~6/29


2006
My Favorite Four Prints and Twenty Objets  2/24日~3/11


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