Isozaki Arata “PROCESS”

Isozaki Arata PROCESS 2011
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
Photo: Keizo Kioku

Isozaki Arata PROCESS 2011
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
Photo: Keizo Kioku

Isozaki Arata 磯崎 新
Date:Friday, September 9 – Saturday, November 12, 2011


Download Press release (English)

ISOZAKI is world-renowned, not only as an architect, but for his diligent work as a critic, and for a wide range of cultural and artistic endeavors. The present exhibition is conceived around work Isozaki did during the very first stage of his half-century career, 1960-64. By focusing on the concept of “process”, which would form the foundation of his successive work, we explore Isozaki’s origins; through the generation of ideas and interactions with visual art, processes which continue even now.

Two important avant-garde movements were active in 1960: the Neo-Dadaism Organizers in art and the Metabolism in architecture. As the future replacement for paints and canvases in their works they used everyday items and junk from the dump. At that time, the value standards born of the system that art, exhibitions, architecture, the media and others had constructed began to crumble, and these artists shared a desire to destroy it as completely as they could.

For the TAKIGUCHI Shuzo-guest edited Gendai no Ime-ji (“Visions of the Present”) April 1962 special deluxe edition of the publication Bijutsu Techo, Isozaki created a collage of his “Joint Core System”, which conceives of the city of the future among the ruins of a Greek temple. He published along with it was a text entitling the entire work “Incubation Process”.

He received an offer to show the collage itself at a Metabolist exhibition called “Life in the City of the Future” (Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, 1962), but it was considered unsuitable by the curator, KAWAZOE Noboru for the theme of “a wonderful life in the future” and was initially rejected. Looking back, Isozaki reflected, “I knew that this was because referring to future cities as ruins was something that could be forgiven in the context of art, but was a discourse rejected and ignored in architecture. One might say it was because I had been pondering architecture and cities within the context of art.” He ultimately ended up showing the piece thanks to the intercession of KIKUTAKE Kiyonori and KUROKAWA Kisho. Another work he exhibited at that time “Incubation Process / Joint Core System”, involved using a picture of 1962 Tokyo as a canvas, on top of which was “a simulation of the city generated as a result of intervention by undetermined others, through action painting”, what was the world’s first artwork involving the voluntary participation of the undetermined others.

Cities for Isozaki, aren’t created in a systematic and harmonious way, but exist in a constantly changing process, which can’t be shown in some kind of finished state. The concept of “process planning”, central to Isozaki’s architecture, was first arrived at through thinking about the design of cities.

“The practice of architecture is to update the design as you progress, in an uncertain situation where decision-making is impossible. To visualize it, it would be expanding and contracting like something organic. You have to chop it off at a chosen instant. I decided that’s what design was about. Then the entire expanding and contracting process is revealed in the split-area.” Although Isozaki may have worked at the same time as the Metabolists, both the ideology and methodology of his architecture are of a maverick nature in comparison.

The present exhibition will feature six etchings based on the collages from 1960-64 which one might call the essence of Isozaki’s early thinking, along with “Incubation Process / Joint Core System” re-executed at the exhibition “Japanese Art 1960’s: Japanese Summer 1960-64” at the Art Tower Mito in 1997 and will be completed by the performance on the opening day, and a masterpiece made as a result of further evolution in his thinking, the 1968 large-scale silk screen print, “Re-ruined Hiroshima”.

Isozaki Arata
Born in Oita, 1931. Graduated with a degree from the University of Tokyo School of Engineering Architecture Department. He created Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963, and it exists to this day. Beginning with his work in the 1960’s such as the Oita Prefectural Library, when he was based mostly in Oita City, from the 1990’s onward he has expanded his activity around the world to include Barcelona, Holland, Krakov, Okayama, Kyoto, La Coruña, Yamaguchi, Berlin, and then in this century the Middle East, China and Central Asia. More than any other architect, his work reveals in its very construction a collision with politics, society and culture, and a deployment of personal thought and space that transcends ideological boundaries. Because he demonstrates the potential of those primal areas through his manner of construction, he has come to have a huge impact on other areas of knowledge as well. Through his critical writing, and as a judge at architecture competitions, he has also played an immense role in bringing to realization the concepts of radical architects around the world. His more than half a century of work includes philosophy, visual art, design, music, films, and plays, and he is always going beyond the framework of architecture to raise questions that transcend eras and borders.

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