Apr 01 2020

√K Contemporary Inaugurates Tokyo Space With New Works By Mono-ha Luminary Noriyuki Haraguchi

by ArtAsiaPacific

*This article is sponsored content.

Installation view of NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI’s “wall to wall” at √K Contemporary, Tokyo, 2020. All images copyright Masao Katagami, unless otherwise mentioned. 

A new contemporary art gallery, √K Contemporary (Root K Contemporary), opened its doors in Tokyo on March 7, 2020.

Inspired by the notion that art springs from generations of refinement, Kashima Arts (a gallery in Kyobashi, Tokyo, specializing in Japanese antiques) has taken a step forward into the future by venturing into the world of contemporary art. Amid the tightly clustered buildings of central Tokyo, √K Contemporary is a rarity with its 300-square-meter gallery, allowing visitors to experience art fully, without spatial constraints. The gallery’s futuristic aesthetic complements the sizable space and liberates the artworks and interiors from any sociohistorical associations. Aspiring to create the next art scene, the gallery seeks to establish a spatially and temporally neutral and universal place. In hosting exhibitions by post-war to present-day artists, √K Contemporary seeks to bring a new culture of Japanese modern art into fruition. As such, the gallery will support next-generation art scenes, host a range of exhibitions and events, introduce art to a wider audience, and display artworks unconstrained by time and space.

For the commemorative opening exhibition, “wall to wall Noriyuki Haraguchi” (March 7–May 6), the gallery will showcase Noriyuki Haraguchi’s latest works. Exhibiting for the first time in two years, Haraguchi challenges this new space with 30 new works, including his highly acclaimed signature piece, Oil Pool (2020). Featuring several large installations assembled exclusively within the gallery, the exhibition also includes Ento (Round Tower) (2020), a polyurethane and plywood installation that spans from the atrium and stairwell of the first to second floor, and wall to wall (2020), a site-specific work of a stretched canvas chained and placed within the broken space of a wall in the gallery basement.

Installation view of NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI’s “wall to wall” at √K Contemporary, Tokyo, 2020. Copyright Sotaro Yamamoto.
Installation view of NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI’s “wall to wall” at √K Contemporary, Tokyo, 2020. Copyright Sotaro Yamamoto.

Beginning his career in the 1960s as one of the leading figures of Mono-ha, Haraguchi was among the first Japanese artists to be selected for the 1977 international exhibition Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany. Significant in its impact on the international art scene, this occasion was where Haraguchi presented his Oil Pool. Haraguchi has since participated in numerous exhibitions and projects worldwide, and his works have been collected by highly regarded institutions, including the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For the past 50 years, Haraguchi has continued to create three-dimensional works and installations from industrial materials such as iron, oil, and polyurethane, and has sustained the Mono-ha essence of sheer substance and materiality within his works.

Installation view of NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI’s “wall to wall,” at √K Contemporary, Tokyo, 2020.
Installation view of NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI’s “wall to wall,” at √K Contemporary, Tokyo, 2020.

In addition to the exhibition, √K Contemporary will proudly host the special event “Min Tanaka Locus Focus” and Artist Talk (*pending developments in the outbreak of Covid-19). This three-time-only, must-see event features the highly acclaimed dancer Min Tanaka performing on top of Haraguchi’s Oil Pool. Breathing life and animation into the quiescent and inorganic Oil Pool, this event is a chance to witness a unique and ephemeral artistic allegiance. We hope you take this opportunity to join us and witness two disparate entities simultaneously unify, collide, and create moments of novelty.

Following the performance, there will be also be a talk between the artist, Noriyuki Haraguchi, and a guest speaker. 

*Updates on the performances with Min Tanaka will be announced through the gallery’s website and social media.

Portrait of (left to right) NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI and √K Contemporary’s president, SHIGEYOSHI KASHIMA.

The Artist: Noriyuki Haraguchi

Haraguchi was born in 1946 in the Kanagawa Prefecture and graduated from Nihon University College of Art in 1970. His artistic career was marked by a swift ascent; in 1977 he became the first Japanese artist to be selected for the international exhibition Documenta (Kassel, Germany). From life-size, material reproductions of military aircraft, to steel pools containing oil waste, Haraguchi uses industrial materials like iron and polyurethane to create works that reflect Objecthood, accentuating the materiality of an object via the removal of its meaning and function. 

Major solo exhibitions include “NORIYUKI HARAGUCHI” (Stätdtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 2001) and “Noriyuki Haraguchi – Society and Material” (BankARTStudio NYK, Yokohama, 2009). Group exhibitions include “© Overt: A Series of Exhibitions” (PS1, New York, 1988), “Color and/or Monochrome – A Perspective on Contemporary Art” (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1989), “Matter and Perception 1970, Mono-ha and the Search for Fundamentals” (The Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, 1995), “GRAVITY – Axis of Contemporary Art” (The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 1997), “Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde“ (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012), and many more.

Public Collections: Oita City Art Museum (Oita, Japan), Meguro Museum of Art (Tokyo, Japan), Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (Toyota, Japan), Fukuoka Art Museum (Fukuoka, Japan), Tate Modern(London, UK), Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (Tehran, Iran), Museum of Modern Art (New York, US).

Gallery Info:

√K Contemporary


Address: 6 Minamicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0836, Japan

Tel:+81 3-6280-8808 

Email: info@root-k.jp

Open 11am–7pm / Closed Sunday, Monday & National Holidays

Facebook: @rootkcontemporary

Instagram: @rk_contemporary

Twitter: @rk_contemporary

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