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Kishio Suga

Kishio Suga is one of the most influential forces in site-specific installation in Japan. Soon after his graduation from Tokyo’s Tama Art University in 1968, he began making ephemeral arrangements of natural and manmade materials in outdoor locations around Tokyo, a practice he later termed “fieldwork.”

He simultaneously translated this activity into indoor environments, and quickly gained recognition for unprecedented installations such as Parallel Strata in 1969, a totemic enclosure made of paraffin wax, and Soft Concrete in 1970, four vertical steel plates arranged into a square and shored up with a mound of oil-infused concrete. 

These works positioned him as part of a short-lived movement that later came to be known as Mono-ha (“School of Things”), whose artists took natural and industrial materials and arranged them in mostly unaltered states. Suga articulates his approach to mono (“things/materials”) as an on-going investigation of “situation” and the “activation of existence,” focusing as much on the interdependency of these various elements and the surrounding space as on the materials themselves. Suga has remade his installations on many occasions since the mid 1980s, when his work began to receive institutional recognition. Each time he adheres to the work’s core concept but adapts its scale and constituent parts to the characteristics of the new site. 

Suga has had numerous solo exhibitions at international museums. Over the past four decades he has been featured in landmark exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Punta della Dogana, Venice; and his work is included in many public and private collections. A re-creation of his iconic installation Law of Situation from 1971 was displayed at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.

Suga has two untitled works of art on display in our gardens; a striking scaffolding cage that encloses bamboo poles and a line of tree trunks within our woodland.