THE BARBICAN CENTER
September 30, 2021 - January 9, 2022
Artist and Designer
Isamu Noguchi, Untitled, 1986. Basalt.
54 ¼ x 15 x 12 in.
Objects of Common Interest, Standing Stone, 2019.
Plastic, mirrored base. 137 13/16 x 48 1/16 x 24 ½ in.
Isamu Noguchi, Illusion of the Fifth Stone, 1970.
Aji granite. 47 x 66 ½ x 57 in. Isamu Noguchi, Unmei, 1970.
Basalt. 33 ¾ x 134 ½ x 43 ½ in
Objects of Common Interest, Offerings–Rock II, 2000.
Opal resin. 16 x 15 x 8 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Garden Table, 1983. Granite.
4 x 62 7/8x 62 7/8 in.
Objects of Common Interest, Offerings–Rock III, 2000.
Opal resin. 11 x 11 x 10 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Practice Rocks in Placement, 1982–83. Aji granite.
Isamu Noguchi, Indian Dancer, 1965–66. Granite.
60 1/4 x 34 5/8 x 17 3/8 in. (153 x 87.9 x 44.1 cm)
Limestone base: 14 x 22 x 15 in. (35.6 x 55.9 x 38.1 cm)
In close collaboration with the Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, the London exhibition at the Barbican Center celebrates the Japanese-born American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), one of the most experimental and pioneering artists of the 20th century. The Barbican center pays him a vibrant tribute by exploring the kaleidoscopic career of this true mathematician of art.
This exhibition, the first European retrospective in 20 years, focuses on Noguchi as a citizen of the world in his risky approach to sculpture as a living environment.
Isamu Noguchi, a major sculptor of the 20th century, was the son of Japanese poet Yoneijiro Noguchi and American writer Leonie Gilmour. He lived his childhood in Japan and his adolescence in the United States.
His life is populated by journeys between East and West, between opposing poles from the United States to Europe, from Japan to China, from Mexico to India, from writing to design, from the theater to landscaping.
After having started studying medicine, he turned to sculpture and worked in the studio of Constantin Brancusi in 1927 who taught him the flavor of slowness.
"There is no point in looking for immediate solutions; you have to look in its interior. In my work, I look for something irreducible, an absence of artifice and ingenuity ”, was to explain the master, many years later.
Objects of Common Interest, Inflatable Light I, 2021.
Inflatable, metal, LED. 39 7/16 x 23 in.
Inflatable Light II, 2021. Inflatable, metal, LED. 51 ¼ x 23 in.
Tube Light Columns, 2019. Light, acrylic, mirrored metal plate.
129 ½ x 55 x 5 in. 133 1/16 x 55 x 5 in.
Metamorphic Rocks, 2021. Cast gel, metal, casters.
14 15/16 x 14 15/16 x 18 ½ in.
Tube Chair, 2018. Foam, fabric. 57 x 30 ½ in.
Rock Side Tables, 2021. Opal resin, glass. Dimensions variable.
In this spirit, he remains very influenced by his learning of traditional Chinese painting as well as by the Mingei movement. His artistic experiments led him to take an interest in many disciplines. Noguchi will express his art through sculpture, which he will transcribe in his furniture, lighting and ceramics creations as well as in his architecture and scenographies. From 1935, he collaborated with the dancer Martha Graham and the choreographer Ruth Page: thus he created stage sets for twenty major works.
“Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea born without hindrance in space ”Noguchi sculpted stone, wood, aluminum and ceramics, but also the air that surrounds him because everything is vibration in his art. For Noguchi, sculpture is the “vital force of our daily life” and his art “teaches human beings to become more human”.
The quest for harmony, peace, the overwhelming desire to improve life, the notion of utility far from the futile have led Isamu Noguchi to constantly push the limits of his art.
Noguchi has been able to breathe his soul
into each of his works and make
his heart beat forever in each of his creations.
Isamu Noguchi, Untitled, 1982. Granite, hot-dipped galvanized steel. 6 ½ x 12 ½ x 22 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Freeform Sofa and Ottoman.
Designed c. 1948 for Herman Miller; Vitra reissue (2002– ).
Fabric and stuffing over wood.
Sofa: 27 ½ x 118 x 84 in. Ottoman: 12 x 47 ¼ x 28 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Neo-Lithic, 1982–83. Hot-dipped galvanized steel. 72 ¼ x 28 ¼ x 16 ¼ in.
Isamu Noguchi, Akari B, 1954. Paper, bamboo, metal, electrical components. 92 ½ x 18 x 18 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Akari 20N, 1968. Paper, bamboo, metal, electrical components. 23 ½ x 16 ½ x 16 ½ in.
Isamu Noguchi, Akari 21N, 1954. Paper, bamboo, metal,
electrical components. 43 ½ x 33 x 33 in.
[ Blue steel pieces ] ISOMU NOGUCHI
Objects of Common Interest, Formations, 2018. Steel. Dimensions variable.
Photograph of Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece, c. 1949.
The Noguchi Museum Archives,
Isamu Noguchi, Ziggurat, c. 1968. Seravezza marble.
7 x 37 x 23 in. Base: 35 x 24 x 11 ½ in.
Isamu Noguchi (with Louis Kahn), Riverside Playground, Amphitheater Study, 1961–62.
Plasticine, plywood. 5 x 28 x 27 ¼ in. Riverside Playground, 1965. Plaster.47 x 52 x 20 in.
Isamu Noguchi, Akari BB1-30 DL, base c. 1954, shade c 1963.
24 x 8 x 8 in. unfinished work, n.d. Granite.