The Sculptures of Noguchi at the Barbican Art Gallery

The Sculptures of Noguchi at the Barbican Art Gallery
#Exhibitions

There are sixty years of Isamu Noguchi to be found in the spaces of the Barbican Art Gallery for the first European itinerant retrospective dedicated to the American artist of Japanese origins. “Sculpture can be a vital force in our everyday life if projected into communal usefulness.” He was convinced of this. And this exhibition demonstrates this as it retraces the evolution of his kaleidoscopic career, ranging from architecture to dance and design. The inventive approach of Noguchi towards sculpture as an environ for living guides the public through these 150 works coming to London from the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and the Garden Museum of New York, as well as private and public collections. Sculptures in stone, bronze, wood, ceramics, aluminium and zinc-plated steel are flanked by theatrical sets and models of buildings and even playgrounds. Becoming an icon of design thanks, above all, to his celebrated coffee table and his Akari lights, the global citizen Noguchi who journeyed from China to Mexico and even as far as India, pushed the confines of sculpture to a sort of social and spiritual understanding. The London exhibition celebrates Noguchi through photos and archival materials rarely on display which offer illuminating views of the life of the sculptor, son of a Japanese father and an American mother, highlighting the humanist values of this visionary. This master who saw sculpture as a means to create harmony between humanity, industry and nature, transforming life into a sort of game, reveals his whole story, beginning with his apprenticeship in Paris with the master Constantin Brâncuși. Few are aware that his celebrated self-illuminating lunar sculptures are the result of various experiments carried out following the devastating experience of “volunteer internment” in 1942 in a prison camp for Japanese Americans in Poston, Arizona.
Samantha De Martin - © 2021 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London