Collection Exhibition 1 It knows : When Forms Become Mind

2023.4.8(Sat.) - 2023.11.5(Sun.)



2023.4.8(Sat.) - 2023.11.5(Sun.)
10:00-18:00(until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Gallery 1 to 6


Mondays (except July 17, September 18, October 9, October 30), May 14, July 18, September 19, October 10, October 31


Adults: ¥450 (¥360)
Students: ¥310 (¥240)
18 and under: free
65 and over: ¥360

*Fees in parentheses are for groups of 20 people or more.

Book tickets here

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800

As a universal theme relating to our ability to perceive and interpret the world, the relationship between form and mind has been explored in art since ancient times. Gregory Bateson, the multidisciplinary scientist who continuously explored the ecology of mind and nature, described a “mind” as a large network that makes connections among interrelated forms and shapes and their respective patterns. Visible and invisible patterns of various kinds – natural, social, verbal, subconscious – arise everywhere in the world. In the course of daily life, we get a sense of mental systems greater than the individual mind, emerging naturally from relationships among forms and typologies. These patterns and structures are part of a larger network of exchanges and connections that underpin the earth and its ecosystem, and serve as the background for the way we interpret and interact with the world. Art, the history of which is still ongoing, engages with this grand theme by exploring how shapes and patterns shape our perception and understanding of the world, and how they connect to what we might call “mind.” By juxtaposing works from the museum’s diverse collection of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation from the 1960s to the present day with works by artists invited for this exhibition, this show takes viewers on a journey through the process of the mind that grasps relationships among diverse forms.

Exhibiting artists (in alphabetical order)

  • AOKI Katsuyo, Lygia CLARK, Federico HERRERO, KASHIKI Tomoko, KAWAUCHI Rinko, KONISHI Toshiyuki, Joseph KOSUTH, LEE Bul, NAKAGAWA Yukio, OKI Junko, Tony OURSLER, Pedro REYES, Vladimir ZBYNOVSKY
    Invited Artists: MATSUDA Shōei, TANAKA Saki

Gallery notes

  • Lygia CLARK, Creature - Double Crab, 1960 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association photo: SAIKI Taku

    Pattern which Connects/ Gallery 1

    Lygia CLARK
    Born 1920 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Died 1988 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Lygia clark’s Bicho (Creature) is a world-renowned series on which the artist embarked around 1959. The works consist of groups of movable aluminum plates on hinges, which enable viewers to move them freely and create a variety of forms. While she gave the series its title because of its organic shapes and spine-like hinges, Clark saw the various forms and structures that emerged from the works more broadly, as myriad organic patterns derived from the principles of nature and organisms. According to Clark, the Creatures were not only reconfigured by viewers, but actually “lived” in the sense that they set themselves in motion. This exhibition’s exploration of relationships between forms and mind begins with this milestone work from Brazil, which seeks to create a participatory and democratic mode of art form through interaction between the work and the viewer.

    “I gave the name Bichos [Critters] to my works of this period, because their characteristics are fundamentally organic. Furthermore, the hinge between the planes reminds me of a backbone.
    The arrangement of metal plates determines the positions of the Bicho, which at first glance seems unlimited. When asked how many moves a Bicho can make, I reply, "I don't know, you don't know, but it knows.
    Lygia CLARK, Bichos 1960

  • KAWAUCHI Rinko, Untitled, 2020 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © Rinko Kawauchi

    Planetary Nexus/ Gallery 2

    KAWAUCHI Rinko
    Born 1972 in Shiga, Japan. Lives and works in Chiba, Japan.

    Kawauchi Rinko expresses in her works the distinctive sensibilities of organic life, such as ambiguity of fragments of the everyday, the fragility and peril of life and death, and the sense of awe. In addition to works from the museum’s collection that delicately capture her own surroundings during the onslaught of the pandemic in 2020-21, we present her video work M/E, which signifies both “Mother Earth” and “me.” Kawauchi’s works move back and forth between events unfolding on a grand planetary scale and the familiar landscapes and phenomena that surround us, creating fuzzy sequences of seemingly unrelated images. Connections between the self and the earth enfold the viewer in the mysteries of life, and evoke the sensation of an emergent planetary mind.

  • Joseph Kosuth,
    The Polar Bear and The Tiger Cannot Fight, 1994 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

    Relationship of Meaning/ Gallery 3

    Joseph KOSUTH
    Born 1945 in Toledo, USA. Lives and works in New York, USA and Rome, Italy.

    “Form” refers not only to the visible, but also to patterns that transmit messages or information. The form in which a message is presented in communication, for example the tone of voice and body language in a conversation, can be as important as the content of the message.
    Joseph Kosuth creates works based on words, eschewing attachment to form and color, which have long been considered essential elements of visual art. The Polar Bear and The Tiger Cannot Fight is a neon work that spells out the title verbatim. This is a quotation from the writings of psychologist Sigmund Freud. The transparency of the neon light causes the words to float in space, compelling the viewer to explore the implications of this enigmatic message. Diverse relationships between the original meaning intended in Freud’s text and meanings produced in viewers’ minds will continue to proliferate.

  • LEE Bul, Apparition, 2001 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © LEE Bul
    photo: NAKAMICHI Atsushi / Nacása & Partners

    Forms of Ghosts / Ghosts of Forms/ Gallery 4

    AOKI Katsuyo
    Born 1972 in Tokyo, Japan. Lives and works in Tokyo.
    KASHIKI Tomoko
    Born1982 in Kyoto, Japan. Lives and works in Kyoto.
    LEE Bul
    Born in Yeongju, South Korea in 1964. Lives and works in Seoul.
    NAKAGAWA Yukio
    Born 1918 in Kagawa, Japan.Died 2012 in Kagawa.
    OKI Junko

    Ghosts can be understood not only as manifestations of the dead, but also as mythical beings that move back and forth among the past, present, and future, or as spiritual presences that have deep connections with the living. This gallery presents works from the museum’s collection that explore ghostly forms. Lee Bul’s Monsters series expresses fear of the unknown and relationships between the body and technology based on various cultural references, from science fiction to classical mythology, while Kashiki Tomoko’s Tiled Room depicts ghostly figures in a fantastical world of reverie with fluid lines and translucent colors. Meanwhile, in Aoki Katsuyo’s Predictive Dream XXXII deathly ornaments proliferate with vegetative abundance on a white porcelain skull, and Oki Junko evokes an absent body by sewing distinctive patterns on the sleeves of a deconstructed Victorian jacket. These works introduce new perspectives on life while oscillating between the worlds of the dead and the living. And in Nakagawa Yukio’s Sacred Book, which captured the liquid from carnations decomposing under the weight of glass and seeping out onto Xuan drawing paper, we see the last sparkle of life from the dying flowers, as well as the moment when form itself is transmuted into a ghostly presence.

  • Pedro REYES, pUN - Disarm Clock, 2013 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © Pedro REYES
    photo: KIOKU Keizo

    Commitment/ In front of Gallery 4

    Pedro REYES
    Born 1972 in Mexico City, Mexico. Lives and works in Mexico City.

    Pedro Reyes is active with The People’s United Nations (pUN), a project that explores solutions to humanity’s crises through artistic dialogue. His pUN - Disarm Clock is a musical instrument incorporating a clock, made from repurposed illegal guns recovered from their owners, which aims to effect change to Mexico’s society pervaded by gun violence. A percussive metallic sound rings out every 15 minutes as the clock ticks toward a future time when the world will be free of guns. Viewers of Reyes’s work, which transforms violent objects into meditations on peace as wars and conflicts render the world increasingly unstable, will ask themselves how they can engage with society and participate in the process of shaping the future.

  • Vladimir ZBYNOVSKY, Spirit of Stone, 2001 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © Vladimir ZBYNOVSKY
    photo: SAIKI Taku

    Heat and Gravity/ Gallery 5

    TANAKA Saki (Specially Invited Artist)
    Born 1995 in Aomori, Japan. Lives and works in Ishikawa, Japan.
    Vladimir ZBYNOVSKY
    Born 1964 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Lives and works in Chantilly, France.

    Heat and gravity are fundamental forces that shape the physical world and play a crucial role in the formation of patterns and structures. Heat is a form of energy constantly exchanged between organisms and the environment, while gravity governs the motion of all objects in the universe. Here we present glass works, one by the invited artist Tanaka Saki and one from the museum’s collection (Vladimir Zbynovsky’s Spirit of Stone). Tanaka uses a thermal cutting technique to slice each spherical piece of glass diametrically, then hand-polishes the uneven apertures of the thin glass to create delicate curved surfaces. Vladimir Zbynovsky contrasts the roughness of stone and the clarity of glass by placing a chunk of highly pure and transparent optical glass on a rock so it appears to recline across it. Both pieces express distortions caused by heat and gravity, and both utilize forms shaped by the physical laws of nature while further sublimating them to these laws. Beauty of spirit that transforms the surrounding space will be unveiled in the glass-walled that is a hallmark of the museum.

  • Tony OURSLER, Ello, 2003 Collection: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    © Tony OURSLER
    photo: KIOKU Keizo

    Mind Between Tears and Joy/ Gallery 6

    MATSUDA Shōei (Specially Invited Artist)
    Born 1986 in Kanagawa, Japan.Lives and works in Kanagawa.
    Federico HERRERO
    Born 1976in San José, Costa Rica. Lives and works in San José.
    KONISHI Toshiyuki
    Born 1980 in Hiroshima, Japan. Lives and works in Hiroshima.
    Tony OURSLER
    Born 1957 in New York, USA. Lives and works in New York.

    Facial expressions, created by various intersecting patterns of facial forms, are extraordinarily complex, and in them we can read innumerable messages, meanings, and emotions. The works in this gallery focus on “laughing / crying” as one of our numerous facial expressions. The laughing / crying face, which can be seen as happy or sad, has been one of the most widely used emoji (Tears of Joy) in the world in recent years. In addition to works from the museum collection by Federico Herrero, who comically depicts the expressions of characters and people in vivid colors; Konishi Toshiyuki, who portrays people in his vicinity in an anonymous fashion with undulating brush strokes; and Tony Oursler, who produces bizarrely exaggerated facial expressions using video, the museum has invited conceptual artist Matsuda Shōei to present a monumental balloon work in the form of a laughing / crying emoji. In this gallery, inhabited by a number of striking “laughing / crying” expressions whose meanings change depending on the viewer, eerie yet humorous shifts in facial forms and various interpretations thereof dynamically appear and vanish once more. The interconnectedness of all of these facial expressions makes it seem as if the ambiguous laughing / crying face is a symbolic presence imbued with intelligence.



Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)