Yoshishige Saito is recognised in his native Japan as one of the great abstract sculptors of the twentieth century.
Born in 1904 in Tokyo, Saito never attended art school. In 1920 he saw an exhibition in Tokyo that was to have great influence on his work, of Russian Avant-Garde; organised by the Russian artist David Burliuk, who he also met at the time. This influence of European and Russian art of the early 20th Century – especially the Russian Constructivists – led him to make plywood relief sculptures in the 1930s.
During the War, many of Saito’s works were lost or destroyed, but when the war was over and materials were readily available once more he began to incorporate large planks and discs of painted wood into his work; the results are great sculptural installations. In 1957 Saito won a prestigious “New Artist’s Prize” in Japan, and this exposure helped towards his later inclusion in the Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales.
This exhibition includes 10 works; the earliest from 1987 and the latest from 2001, the last work Saito ever made. The gallery becomes a part of the work as the wooden forms jut out and recede into space, over- lapping and interrelating. Saito uses strong, primary colours - black, white and red - in these works, which enhance their spacial presence, making the air and space between the materials a part of the work.
This exhibition will be on the fourth floor.
A fully illustrated 32-page catalogue is available on request.