The toxic sap from the lacquer tree has been used to make objects resilient and beautiful in East Asia for several thousand years. Until the modern period, lacquer was principally used for articles for daily or ceremonial use and presentation, such as wine vessels and document cases. In the early 1950s, artists revolutionized this utilitarian tradition by creating the first sculptures made from lacquer. The subject of a new exhibition, a small but enterprising circle of artists, all born since 1959, has pushed the medium in entirely new directions by creating conceptually innovative, large-scale works that superbly exploit the natural characteristics of this medium. Dr. Andreas Marks will introduce the exhibition "Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture," on view until January 23, 2022.
Dr. Andreas Marks studied East Asian Art History at the University of Bonn and obtained his PhD in Japanese Studies from Leiden University. From 2008 to 2013 he was director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art in Hanford, California, and since 2013 has been Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese and Korean Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He is the author of TASCHEN’s "Hiroshige & Eisen: The Sixty-Nine Stations along the Kisokaido" and "Japanese Woodblock Prints (1680–1938)". His 17th book, Hokusai: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, came out in summer.
Kurimoto Natsuki, Japanese, b.1961
The Dual Sun II, 2008
Lacquer and mother-of-pearl on automobile hood
29 1/2 × 49 1/2 × 2 1/4 in. (74.93 × 125.73 × 5.72 cm)
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Gift of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture
Support for this exhibition was provided by the Arthur F. and Ulla R. Searing Endowment; Asian Art Endowment at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art; and Chao Ringling Museum Endowment.
Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC
Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues