The 6th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition

What does the monumentality of sculpture mean?

Sadaichi Hijikata

The theme of this 6th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition is the monumental nature of sculpture. Aside from experts, what is meant by this monumentality is sometimes asked by the general public, apart from experts.

The 3rd Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Sculptures at Ube City Tokiwa Park Open Air Sculpture Museum was held with the theme of “Contemporary sculptures made of three materials-stainless steel, aluminum and plastics”, and the 4th was “Reinforced plastics”. We are holding the theme. It goes without saying that these are modern new materials developed by modern industrial technology. These new contemporary materials are materials that match the imagination of contemporary sculptors, and the Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition created these materials as the theme and exhibited them in the open air at Tokiwa Park. The intention was to experiment with the various sculptural possibilities of the material and discover the diversity of modern sculpture.

Modern world sculpture is often called the “era of metal sculpture.” Metals are bronze, iron, steel, aluminium, and many other materials that characterize modern industrial technology. However, among these materials, iron has historically been a metal from the time when humankind entered the agricultural society, and then sometimes became a material for sculpture works. It goes without saying that it is a casting material. However, it is probably the iron sculpture of Picasso, who began to create iron sculpture with the stimulus of Gonzalez (1876-1942), when this iron appeared with new functions in the 20th century sculpture. However, the iron sculpture of modern sculpture, like Gonzalez, was already produced in 1911 by Pablo Gargalo (1881-1834), a close friend of the country’s Picasso. It is also interesting that Gonzalez was born as a child of a blacksmith with a Catalan tradition of wrought iron (matt iron). I sometimes meet writers who want a homely development. Gonzales has taken this traditional technique under the influence of Cubism’s thoughts into humorous abstract works such as “Angel” (1933, wrought iron, Paris Museum of Modern Art) and also “Spanish peasant” (City Museum Amsterdam). As you can see, we are creating a concrete and strong image of a farmer made of iron plates. Most of Gonzalez’s works can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, along with the Blancheche (1876-1957), in a memorial room. While the iron’s clean and rugged texture and the artist’s equally clean and beautiful imagination, I feel that he is pointing to one direction of contemporary sculpture.

Also, for example, the material for “Construction for the Chicago Swimming Pool” (1932) by Naum Gabo (1890-) was made of metal and glass, and the material for “a model for memorials for anonymous political prisoners” was made. They are wire and plastics, and like Moholly Naggie (1895-1946), they use various materials outside of Plexiglas, and it seems like no more than these examples can be given.

As mentioned above, there are excellent examples of masters in the first half of the 20th century who used various materials developed by modern industry as sculpture materials in addition to stone, wood, bronze, and iron. In addition to materials, I use various materials to compose the imagination of the artist’s ideas. Then, what is the character of the monumentality of the works using these various materials?

Monuman is, of course, monument, monumentum in Latin that comes from monere (reminding), and refers to something that serves to make the memory of an individual (or people), an event, or an idea permanent. I will. Certain types of works of art, such as burial creators, vast and magnificent tombs, stone plates or metal plates with public proclamation, triumphal columns and arcs, honors dedicated to honoring individuals Statues, buildings, etc. clearly manifest the commemorative intent of the side making the work. In a more general sense of monuman, in the past, for the most part, in the past, even if it was its record meaning or artistic value, in later times it was a memorial to humans, incidents, culture and civilization. Is being considered as. This is irrelevant to its original purpose. So the monumental character that underlies Monuman’s ideas is intended to come from interpretation or be discussed from the beginning. …… Depending on the demands of society and the power of Nohman, the monuman produced there has little or no artistic value. It can also represent a highly respected achievement of talented architects, sculptors and craftsmen.

The above is a translated version of the beginning of the Monument section of Encyclopedia of World Art. The last word sounds like a painful warning, considering our modern society. Regardless, the author of this dictionary has historically introduced the forms and contents of Monuman from prehistoric Menhir to ancient Egypt, Europe, and India and China. It means traditional architecture and sculpture, and if it is limited to sculpture, it is a monument or statue.

Even in the history of modern sculpture, its name, such as Rodin’s “Curry Citizen” (1884-1895), “Balzac Statue” (1895-1898), and Bourdelle’s “Equestrian Statue of General Alvear” (1923). Since then, a memorial image that makes the memory forever has already been created by these masters. In the same way, Mayor’s “Paul Cezanne Memorial Statue” (1912-1925, Tuileries Park) is a statue of a lying nude woman with flowers in his hand. When it comes to the “Man with a Sheep” (1944, Antibes city), who produced the image of human beings of peace, the memorial image departs from our idea of ​​the statue, and also “sculpture design for Monuman (image of woman)” ( (1928), I have left the idea of ​​concrete. In addition, Naum Gabo’s “Composition for the Bien Korfu Department Store” (1954-1959, Rotterdam) is a monumental image of one symbol of the city, showing the agreement with the city and architecture, and , As already seen in Mayor’s “Paul Cezanne Memorial” and other examples, the idea of ​​a personal statue (statue) is no longer a special case, or except in the case of the Sovets. Is more rejected. This is related to our view of the world, changes in our beliefs about beauty, the idea of ​​modern architecture or the anti-Monuman consciousness.

Here in Ube, too, a small but nice, open space with a monument is placed on a pedestal with a child statue of Tadayoshi Sato as a memorial for the late Mayor Hoshide. This is because Mayor Hoshide loved Tadayoshi Sato’s work before he was alive, so there was a statue of Mr. Sato’s child, but the plaza with such a memorial image is in the beautiful Ube city. Probably a plan. It can be said that such examples are beautiful examples that have recently begun to appear in Japanese cities.

Such a new monuman is no longer a bust of the deceased to “permanently commemorate” the individual, but a manifestation of a collective spirit that makes us happy in our social life, and at the same time The personality of the departure mayor will be neglected and made beautiful. And if the modern monuman can add a pleasant thing to our social life and take our spirit to another dimension, the monuman will live even more.

It can be said that the modern monuman is in the above direction regardless of whether it is so-called concrete, abstract work or three-dimensional work. However, even with that intention, it goes without saying that no work can be called monumental. The society will be questioned as to the intention of the monuman and whether the production is good or bad. This is where the difficult term used to translate into Japanese the modern monumentarity.

At one point, Henry Moore replied to Wolfgang Fisher’s question about this monumentality at the “Henry Moore” exhibition in Munich, 1971:

“The large shape doesn’t give monumentality to sculptures. Even a small work of only a few inches can have a sense of monumentality. I find the quality of monumentality to be very few in the work of an artist. I think it is a rare quality to be found: I find it in Michelangelo, in Masaccio, in Rubens, in Cezanne, Boucher or Fragonard, I praise it. Not seen by many other writers… I am an oil painting sketch for “People Bathing”, but with a piece of Cezanne. This is my boast. I first saw this painting about 45 years ago when I was attending a lecture that was moved from screen to screen by a lantern slide and expanded from 10 feet to 12 feet. Ten years ago, when I saw the real thing, I was surprised to find that it was 8 inches and 10 inches in size. For, it had exactly the same monumentality as Cezanne’s two great works in Philadelphia, The People Who Swim (the other is in the National Gallery, London).

WF I see. But in this case, monumentality seems to be stylistic quality.

HM No, no. You can teach style, but monumentality is a natural part of an artist’s vision. So I can’t teach. It does not mean a huge work. I have this feeling in the small still life of a writer like the contemporary Italian painter Morandi. Morandi’s vase looks like a huge tower in the landscape. This is how an artist changes things. …Of course, some artists don’t need size. Paul Klee is one example of modern art. Klee’s imaginative, poetic little cat does not differ in effect, even if it is 10 times larger. The smallness of Klee’s work allows him to enter into a fairy-like fantasy more than a large work. ”

Henry Moore is here have mentioned the two types of qualities of artists, although there with interesting pointed out, for Monyuman property, only told the intuitive whether it is what kind of personality. Even if I look at a few dictionaries that are in the hands of a scam, it’s humorous from my point of view, and it’s just a mediocre explanation. However, after the development of contemporary sculptures using various modern materials in the contemporary sculpture exhibition at Tokiwa Park, Ube City, this time, we will introduce the monumentality, which is an important issue regarding the composition as the essence of this sculpture. I think that the meaning of the task is important. However, the composition as the essence of this sculpture does not have a certain promise, and it goes without saying that it shows various forms.