Andrea Rosen Gallery: TETSUMI KUDO | JORGE EIELSON - 14 Oct 2016 to 16 Nov 2016
Tetsumi Kudo, Meditation Between Memory and Future, 1978
Image courtesy of Hauser and Wirth.
© 2016 ARS, NEW YORK / ADGAP, Paris. Estate of Tetsumi Kudo, Hiroko Kudo.
October 14 - November 16, 2016
Opening Reception: October 14th, 6-8 pm
Curated in conjunction with Joshua Mack. With the gracious cooperation of Hiroko Kudo and the Estate of the Artist.
"Kudo's work is complex in its symbolic meaning, is extremely metaphorical, and bears little relationship to traditional agitprop of social realist art."
- Mike Kelley, 2008
Andrea Rosen is proud to present the gallery's third exhibition exploring the work and ideas of Tetsumi Kudo (1935-1990). Building on past shows that surveyed Kudo's career and contextualized it vis-á-vis contemporaries like Paul Thek, Hannah Wilke, and Alina Szapocznikow, the current presentation will examine the artist's development in the 1970s and '80s, highlighting the spiritual and symbolic currents to which Mike Kelley (quoted above) identified in an essay for Kudo's 2008 retrospective at the Walker Art Center. The exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery brings together a survey of approximately eight string works and over twenty cages, spanning from 1966-1988. Born in Osaka in 1935, Tetsumi Kudo was essential to the development of "anti-art" avant-garde art in Tokyo in the late 50s and early 60s that used store bought objects and found material in order to shock and revolt the status quo and to make art that would be defined by experience rather than medium, author, or commercial value.
Equally important to developments in Europe, Kudo settled in Paris in 1962 and quickly became associated with artists like Arman and Daniel Spoerri and critics such as Pierre Restany and Alain Jouffroy. Through performances (one attended by legendary gallerist Ileana Sonnabend), films, texts, and most importantly sculpture incorporating household objects, he sought to subvert the separation between art and lived experience and to interrogate mass consumerism and the rise of technology. In 1965 he wrote that religion and tradition had become commodities like "stockings, ice-cream, and instant coffee". He believed that World War II and the rise of the market economy had rendered European Humanism, with its emphasis on the individual over the social, invalid. In contrast, he suggested that pollution, technology, and humanity had become a symbiotic whole in which each affected the other in what had become intertwined "new ecology." Kudo conceived of his work as models or maquettes of these realities. His inclusion of electronic circuitry, store-bought kitchen items, plastic dolls, and vacuum tubes, among other industrial produced materials renders his pieces as outtakes or parts of contemporary ecology.
Among the most sustained and complex expression of his ideas were the works he realized using birdcages, a series he began in 1965 and concluded in 1981. In these, body parts meld with transistors and circuit boards sprout plastic flowers. Votre portait (1974), which includes a face of the French Romanian poet, Eugène Ionesco, who symbolized European egotism for Kudo, suggests the impotence of anthropocentric culture in the face of technology, pollution, and consumerism, while also questioning how artists can respond to this helplessness. This quandary engendered a series of cages titled Portrait d'artist dans la crise (Portrait of the artist in the crisis) that signals a more introspective turn in Kudo's work. In the late 1970s, during a period of ill health, Kudo began including lengths of colored string and reams of magnetic tape in his works to suggest the energy of thoughts, memory, and life moving within and between the mind, the body, and the animate world. By 1981, he had ceased using figurative elements, instead affixing yarn and thread to papier mâché-like cylinders and cones. Kudo referred to these as trou noir or black holes and also suggested that several reflected the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, which he believed unified Japan, not in social terms, but in a pantheistic sense.
The exhibition aims to explore this underlying spirituality and holistic thinking in all of Kudo's work.
Tetsumi Kudo work has been widely recognized since the 1960s, exhibiting throughout Europe and Japan. His work can be found in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum; Walker Art Center; Stedelijk Museum; the Pinault Collection; Aomori Museum of Art; National Museum of Art, Osaka; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; among others. His work is the subject of a large scale retrospective this Fall at the Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany (2016). Other significant exhibitions include: a retrospective in 2013 (Osaka Museum, Aomori Museum, and National Museum of Art, Tokyo); Walker Art Center (2008), La Maison Rouge, Paris (2007), The National Museum of Art Osaka (1994), the Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn and the Stedelijk Museum (1991).
Text by Joshua Mack
October 14 - November 16, 2016
Opening Reception: October 14, 6-8 pm
Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 is pleased to announce an exhibition of Jorge Eielson's Quipus series.
Over the course of 60 years, Jorge Eielson (1924-2006), a self-described 'worker of word...of image...of colour...of space,' developed a practice that eschewed strict categorization, encompassing poetry, sculpture, painting, performance, and theatre. Breaking out of the restrictive two-dimensional boundaries of the flat surface was one of Eielson's chief preoccupations, as was idiom, in its visual and written form. As a poet and painter, the artist emphasized the importance of language, and explored it from a narrative and symbolical perspective. Eielson's paintings-most notably the Quipus series dating back to 1963-are saturated with Peruvian heritage, while simultaneously revealing a framework within which metaphor, language, color, and an almost scientific study of form are exercised.
Rising to prominence as part of the Peruvian movement known as 'Generation 1950,' Eielson boldly left his native Peru to relocate to Europe in 1948-first visiting Paris, then settling in Italy. Actively engaging with the cultural milieu of his adoptive countries, Eielson befriended the likes of Raymond Hains and the members of the MADI group in Paris, and became acquainted with Alberto Burri, Mimmo Rotella and Cy Twombly, among others, in Rome. While he maintained strong social rapports with his peers, Eielson's art developed independently of them and their affiliate movements. Neither espousing the consumerist rhetoric challenged by pop art, nor abiding to the formal diktats of minimalism or the rigorous critical inquiry of conceptualism, Eielson's visual output rested on a set of distinct conceptual and formal precepts.
Eielson's series Quipus-literally "knot"-displays a language built from a shifting range of themes and variations of a single motif. From the deep blue fabric fanning over the pitch-black background of Quipus 30B (1991), to the tense intersection of Quipus Vert no. 3 (1971), the knot exercises control over Eielson's chromatic surfaces, with each color, twist and intersection concretizing a symbol or word. Taking its name from a traditional Incan encoding device designed to collect data and keep track of values within compositions of knotted string, the quipus faded from use with the Spanish conquest, but maintained a powerful stronghold as a historical symbol. Its role as an iconic stand-in for an ancestral heritage, combined with varying material properties, first drew Eielson to the quipus, leading him to evolve and establish a body of work recognized as one of his own visual linguistic systems. Like his contemporary Lucio Fontana, whose Spatial Concepts were conceived as relentless variations on a motif, so, too, were Eielson's Quipus. The knot was to Eielson what the slash and hole were to Fontana.
Jorge Eielson was born in 1924 in Lima Peru. He participated in four Venice Biennales in his lifetime, with works from his Quipus series first exhibited at the Biennale in 1964. His work has been exhibited internationally, and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo de Arte de Lima; The Rockefeller Collection; and the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX. A major retrospective of Eielson's work is forthcoming in October 2017 at the Museo de Arte de Lima in Peru.
With thanks to Archivio Eielson, Saronno and Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence for their support of this exhibition.