Peder Lund is pleased to present an exhibition of two sculptural works by the Japanese artist Yoshishige Saito (1904-2001). Saito is recognised in his native Japan as one of the great abstract sculptors of the twentieth century. His tenure at Tama Art University, Tokyo during the 1960’s and early 1970’s had a significant influence on a generation of Japanese artists leading, importantly, to the development of the Mono-ha movement. Eschewing the production of representational artworks, Saito instead focused on basic materials and their properties, creating simple arrangements with minimal artistic intervention. While Surrealism was the dominant trend amongst the Japanese avant-garde art circles of this time, Saito persisted in producing structural, abstract works whose concepts were unique and highly unorthodox. His proud dedication to creative integrity is, in part, why he is held in such high esteem today.
Installed in the gallery are Continuation 2 (1987) and Continuation 3 (1987). Saito was fascinated by the creative potential of the void, leaving empty hollows in his cyclic dynamic creations, playing continuity against irregularity, thrusting, outward-bound planes against still, silent centres. The gallery becomes an essential part of the work as the wooden forms jut and recede into space, overlapping and interrelating. In the company of the Japanese expressionist Kazuo Shiraga and echoed by the post-surrealist painter-sculptor Aki Kuroda, Saito was a compelling figure in the historical relationship between European and Japanese modernism, and is of particular interest during the global fusion of styles taking place in today’s art world.
In 1957 Saito won the prestigious “New Artist’s Prize” in Japan, and this exposure lead to his later inclusion in the Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales. He was the subject of numerous museum shows. A retrospective of his work was held in 2003-2004, traveling to the Iwate Museum of Art, the Chiba City Museum of Art, the Shimane Art Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama. Continuation 2 was exhibited in this important exhibition. Continuation 2 and Continuation 3 were both included in the 1993 traveling exhibition Yoshishige Saito, Time, Space, Wood.