Susumu Koshimizu

born 1944

Susumu Koshimizu, 'From Surface to Surface' 1971, remade 1986
From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986
© Susumu Koshimizu
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Biography

Susumu Koshimizu (小清水 漸, Koshimizu Susumu, born 1944) is a Japanese sculptor and an installation artist.

He is one of the key members of Mono-ha, a group of artists who became prominent in the late 1960s and 1970s. Mono-ha was the name given to a loosely associated group of artists whose work was stridently anti-modernist—consisting primarily of sculptures and installations that incorporated basic materials such as rocks, sand, wood, cotton, glass and metal, often in simple arrangements with minimal artistic intervention. From early on, Susumu Koshimizu’s investigation of material and space resulted in some of Mono-ha’s most definitive artworks.

Koshimizu’s installations and sculptures during the 1960s and 1970s focused on the qualities inherent to but not visible in an object. Yet, he shows concern for the materiality of objects—a desire to expose the fundamentals of sculpture, often revealed through juxtaposition.

In Paper (formerly Paper 2) (1969), he placed a large stone inside an even larger envelope of Japanese paper, open on one side. Viewers were able to look inside and—in the sculptural context of relating interior structure to exterior form—were confronted with the sheer size and solidity of the stone in contrast to the thin membrane of paper that covers it.

Crack the Stone in August ’70 consisted of an immense block of granite split in two at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. At that time, Koshimizu was exploring the fundamentals of sculpture without the need for juxtaposition: splitting open the stone and exposing its inside was a means to show the materiality and presence of the rock itself.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Koshimizu started to explore specifically the structure of surfaces. A single installation, "From Surface to Surface (Wooden Logs Placed in a Radial Pattern on the Ground)" (1972/2004) is a good example. The work is composed of thirty, thirteen-foot-long square beams of wood, the surfaces of which have been sliced at varying intervals and angles to create undulating expanses of geometric form.

Koshimizu’s work since the 1980s has explored a variety of Japanese woods though the concept of “working tables.”

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