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Mono-ha, literally ‘school of things’, is the name given to a group of artists who came to critical attention in Japan in the late 1960s. These ‘things’ refer not only to the material things from which their work is made, such as oil clay, stones, glass, iron plates, ropes, wood and earth, but also to the strangeness of the works themselves. Neither quite sculptures, nor installations, their very existence appears to confound traditional artistic genres. Although fiercely critical of Western modernism, their use of natural materials, and their radical attack upon traditional assumptions about the work of art, seem to share many affinities with Minimalism and Arte Povera.
Despite shows in France, Italy and the United States, exhibitions by Mono-ha are incredibly rare, given that much of their work is site-specific and ephemeral. For this first exhibition in Britain of work by Mono-ha, Kettle’s Yard has invited four of the six artists to make work in the gallery. The exhibition has been timed to coincide with Tate Modern’s Arte Povera retrospective, and will provide a unique opportunity for comparison between the two movements.
An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. You can buy the exhibition catalogue here.