Although Karla Black (b.1972) and Kishio Suga (b.1944) work on opposite sides of the world and were unaware of each other’s art until their new exhibition at Modern One was conceived, they are united by their use of everyday materials to create sculptural works of sublime beauty, complexity and originality, which they make in response to specific spaces. Karla Black and Kishio Suga: A New Order is Suga’s first major showing in the UK.
Based in Glasgow, Black is one of the country’s leading contemporary artists, and represented Scotland at the 2011 Venice Biennale. She is renowned for large-scale abstract sculptures, which are often composed of delicate and ephemeral materials, such as cellophane, soap, eye shadow, petroleum jelly, toothpaste, chalk powder and soil. Suga was born in Morioka in Northern Japan, and was a key member of Mono-ha (“School of Things”), a pioneering artistic movement which emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His radical adoption of simple everyday materials, such as stone, wire , iron, zinc and paraffin in temporary, site-specific sculptural arrangements, which he calls ‘situations’, makes Suga one of the most thought-provoking and original artists working anywhere in the world today.
Suga has re-created some of his most celebrated works, and has made an entirely new piece conceived especially for the show.
About the Exhibition
A New Order brings together for the first time the work of artists Karla Black and Kishio Suga. Unaware of one another’s work before this show, what unites the two is their use of everyday materials – many of which are not commonly associated with art-making – to create works of beauty and complexity, in response to specific spaces and locations.
Karla Black makes abstract sculptures with traditional art supplies such as plaster, paint, paper and chalk, in combination with everyday items including soap, eye shadow, petroleum jelly, toothpaste and lip-gloss. Although many of these materials may serve as a reminder of the intimate, daily acts that are commonly associated with women, such as applying make-up, Black does not select them for this reason. Her concern is with the physical properties of matter – texture, colour and feel – rather than any cultural associations.
Kishio Suga also uses everyday materials, including rocks, pieces of wood, wire, paraffin, stones – in fact, almost anything to hand – to create what he calls ‘situations’. Bringing materials together, often in apparently random combinations and configurations, Suga aims to highlight their physical qualities, interdependent relationships and their connections with the surrounding environment. In his work, he actively rejects the illusionistic aspects common of much art (an approach most traditionally associated with Western art), and instead he strives to present the world as it is.
In addition to a new work conceived specifically for Gallery 8, Suga is represented by a selection of full-room installations, photographs and performance video works spanning the breadth of his nearly 50 year career. All of the materials in the exhibition were sourced locally or from within the UK and Suga’s installations were assembled by the team at the Gallery, following instructions from the artist.