lundi 1 mai 2023

Isamu Noguchi Retrospective at the LaM

I made a beautiful discovery recently. This exhibition was so wonderful that I decided to share it with you for the 8th anniversary of my blog. 

Enjoy !



The LaM museum

Park around the museum

For the first time ever in France the LaM, Musée d’Art Moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut of Lille Métropole in the city of Villeneuve d’Ascq present the first retrospective of the American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988).

All along the exhibition I felt surounded by a world of poetry with a perfect balance between occidental and oriental references. 

Here are some photos of the exhibition Isamu Noguchi, Sculpter le Monde to enter the world of Isamu Noguchi (all photos by the author)


Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles in 1904. His mother Léonie Gilmour was an American writer and his father Yonejiro Noguchi was a Japanese poet who left to Japan before the birth of Isamu. In 1907 Isamu and his mother return to Japan in Yokohama.

The first room when you enter the exhibition


 In 1918 Isamu Noguchi returned to the US to enter the Rolling Prairie School in Indiana and in 1922 he worked as an apprentice of Gutzon Borglum, best known for his American’s Presidents sculptures of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
In 1924 Noguchi, after abandoned medical studies, started sculpture in Leonardo Da Vinci School of Art in Manhattan.  
In 1926, he saw an exhibition of Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) in Brummer Gallery, New York (installed by Marcel Duchamp) and decided to go to Paris. With a Guggenheim Fellowship he arrived in Paris in 1927 and soon became Brancusi’s assistant.
He returned to the US in 1929 and met the architect Richard Buckminster Fuller with whom he will have a longtime friendship and collaboration along his life. He met also the choreographer Martha Graham. They will work together on more than 20 projects in three decades. Noguchi also worked with Ruth Page, Merce Cunningham (who worked with Jasper Johns) and the composer John Cage.
In the begining of the 1930’s he continued to travel to China, Japan, Europe and Mexico. He will continue to travel around the globe all along his life.




back : Peking Brush Drawing, ink on paper, 1930 

front : Chinese Girl, dental plaster, 1930 

His life was full of collaborations and travels, discovering and practising sculpture in so much differentmaterials in the countries he visited. His knowledge of each material in his art had no limits. That point of mastering in his art had really impressed me during the exhibition. I don’t know if there’s other sculptors that can work with such a perfection on various materials from wood to stone and metal.

In 1936 he was included by Alfred H. Barr Jr., director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to the famous show "Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism" with other artists like Arp, Bellmer, Brauner, Breton, Ernst, Klee, O'Keeffe, Oppenheim... among many other.
Along his life he had also lot of collaboration with famous photograpers like Lee Miller (1907-1977), who was Man Ray’s assistant and photojournalist for the magazine Vogue during World War II, two of many many roles in a Woman of the Century's life. 



Endless Coupling, 1957 an hommage to the Colonne sans fin (1938) of Brancusi


He is well known for the iconic international design of the Akari light sculptures made with washi paper. First models were made in Japan in 1952.


The most beautiful room of the exhibition

His work was largely exhibited in the US and France til his death in 1988.

The exhibition is open til July 2d, run to it !

Thanks for visiting my blog !




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