Magazine article Sculpture

Los Angeles

Magazine article Sculpture

Los Angeles

Article excerpt

Nobuo Sekine

Blum & Poe

A seminal figure in the Mono-ha movement, Nobuo Sekine is particularly associated with its emergence, which was marked by his large-scale earthwork Phase-Mother Earth (1968). for this work, he dug a cylindrical hole in the ground, approximately seven feet wide and nine feet deep; then he placed the excavated earth, made into a cylinder of roughly the same dimensions, next to it. This positive and negative juxtaposition stressed the thingness and relatively unaltered, raw materiality of both the hole and the mound. Like many Mono-ha works, Phase was also about space, its relationship to these "things," and their combined relationship with the viewer.

This show, which featured a decade of Sekine's work, appeared at first glance to include contributions by a number of different artists. There were works from the "Topology" series, including Phase No.9 (1968/ 2012), a low relief made of bent plywood and painted in vivid, electric colors. Here, Sekine expresses his interest in topological shape-shifting in very Pop terms. Then, there were many more works from the "Phase of Nothingness" series, including Phase of Nothingness-Black No.31 (1977), in which a goopy black substance (fiberglass-reinforced plastic) erupts into seething, offal-like splays disturbed by highly polished crystalline extrusions that defy the amorphous mass from which they arise.

Sekine's work makes the viewer aware of a shift from apparently constructed things to evidently arranged things. He seems interested in pushing us to take an active stance on what these things are doing in front of us in space, irrespective of their relative finish or surface qualities. …

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