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Isamu Noguchi exhibit 2021 Tokyo


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  • Isamu Noguchi: Ways of Discovery

    24 April – 29 August 2021
    Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum



    Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum will host an exhibition honouring the Japanese American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), one of the most renowned artists in the 20th century.


    Isamu Noguchi: Ways of Discovery

    Isamu Noguchi was born in the United States in 1904 to a Japanese poet father, Yonejiro (“Yone”) Noguchi, and an American journalist mother, Leonie Gilmour.

    An artist trained in Japan, the US and France, Noguchi merged aesthetics of tradition with contemporary sensibility.

    In his twenties, Noguchi met the sculptor Constantin Brancusi and worked as his assistant. Brancusi had decisive influence on Noguchi’s artistic vision, prompting him to pursue abstract forms as a way to represent nature.

    「イサム・ノグチ 発見の道」


    One of his works on view, “Ways of Discovery” is the common thread running through the exhibition that includes 90 pieces and installations of Noguchi.

    The show highlights how the versatile and prolific artist – sculptor, ceramicist, designer and landscape architect – searched with insatiable curiosity for his own artistic identity across cultures.

    「イサム・ノグチ 発見の道」

    イサム・ノグチ 《発見の道》
    Photo:Kevin Noble
    ©2020 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/ARS, NY/JASPAR, Tokyo E3713


    What not to miss at the Isamu Noguchi exhibition

    ◆ Sculptural universe

    The section features Noguchi’s works and installations from the 1940s through his last years in the 1980s.

    「イサム・ノグチ 発見の道」

    イサム・ノグチ 《黒い太陽》
    ©2020 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/ARS, NY/JASPAR, Tokyo E3713

    At the center of display in this section is an enchanting installation of Akari lights, consisting of approximately 150 paper lanterns in wonderfully sculptural shapes.

    He designed Akari lights by integrating traditional art and craft into modernity. Lanterns are made of washi paper of Mino, Gifu Prefecture and powered by electricity, instead of candles.

    His Akari lights became immensely popular, manufactured and imitated, sold at many shops, and adopted at a large number of households around the world.


    Karomi or the lightness of Noguchi’s work

    Noguchi found inspiration in Japanese culture such as the art of kirigami (paper cutting) and origami (paper folding) for his exploration of sculpture, including the lightness of form and space.

    「イサム・ノグチ 発見の道」東京都美術館

    イサム・ノグチ 《リス》
    ©2020 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/ARS, NY/JASPAR, Tokyo E3713


    ◆ Stones and meditative gardens

    Noguchi had his studios in New York and Mure (Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture). He landscaped UNESCO’s garden with the granites of Mure, for which the village is known.

    A group of Noguchi’s sculptures from his final years, created in collaboration with the stone master Masatoshi Izumi, will be shown for the first time outside of the outdoor studio of Mure.

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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