Archived exhibition
4th Floor Gallery

Yoshishige Saito
Time Space Wood

10 April–17 May 2008

Yoshishige Saito is recognised in his native Japan as one of the great abstract sculptors of the 20th Century.  

Influenced by European and Russian art of the early 20th Century – especially the Russian Constructivists – he started to make plywood relief sculptures in the 1930s. In keeping with Constructivist principals he saw these works as “not a relationship between pictorial form and background” but existing as objects in their own right.

During the war many of his works were lost and destroyed but when the war was over and materials became more readily available again, he started to incorporate large planks and discs of painted wood into his work. The results are great sculptural installations. In 1957 he won the prestigious “New Artist’s Prize” in Japan and this exposure helped towards his later inclusion in the Venice and São Paulo Biennales. 

This exhibition includes 12 of the black painted sculptures he made in the 1980s and 1990s, including two of his very last works made at the age of 95. The gallery becomes a part of the work as the wooden forms jut and recede into space, overlapping and interrelating.  Saito makes air and space a part of the work so that mass and volume are ambiguous. Through the use of wooden planks, Saito was able to exploit the relationship between the material of construction and the suggestion of disintegration or collapse – themes that still have a particular resonance today.

This is the fourth time Annely Juda Fine Art has exhibited Saito’s work and it is a great opportunity to see and understand a historical relationship between European and Japanese Art today.