Noguchi + Hasegawa

A recent exhibit at the Asian Art Museum showcased the talent of two artists, and highlighted how collaboration, craft, talent, and friendship can lead to beautiful work.

Changing and Unchanging Things

Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan showcased how Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa became friends, and addressed similar issue: Japanese and Western influences; tradition and modernity; spirituality and materiality; love and war. These two artists shared sensibilities and concerns, which shaped their work.

Calligraphics, 1957 by Noguchi, with calligraphy Eco Sum Via Verita, 1955, and woodblock paintings by Hasegawa in background.

Young Mountain, 1970

My interest in the show was Noguchi. Many people are familiar with Noguchi for his Akari (literally lantern) sculptures. I’m a fan, and have used these in several Akari pieces in projects. A traditional technique takes on new shape and form in an artists hands.

I had long been impressed by Noguchi’s awareness of materiality, the essence of the thing. Through ceramics, metal, stone and wood, an emotive form of the object emerges. The stoneware pieces are pure and evocative of temple bells, incense burners, yet take on biomorphic forms.

Metal sculptures highlight Japanese origami techniques, while being in touch with elements of jazz and movement in modern art.