Noguchi’s spatial intelligence (his ability to visualize in three dimensions) was extraordinary. He was capable not only of constructing an object composed of many elements in his mind, but rotating it on three axes and placing it in an environment. We live in an age when the wide availability of sophisticated imaging programs has made this ability seem somewhat less exceptional – making it hard to appreciate the difficulties involved in moving an idea from the mind’s eye to realization at full scale with graph paper, hand tools and the occasional help of a friend or assistant.
This exhibition looks at three ways Noguchi employed paper as a primary tool for developing and executing work: the well-known but often misunderstood Worksheets for Sculpture he made to conceive, piece out and plan his interlocking stone and wood sculptures, the multilayered collages which help him think through the unique space in which dance and theater sets function and a group of recently rediscovered paper maquettes, along with the cut and folded metal sculptures they generated.
Drawn from the Museum’s collection of 1,500 works on paper and 17,000 photographs and documents, Area 5: Cut and Fold is the first in a new series of quarterly exhibitions designed to offer insight into Noguchi’s practice, projects, life and career. The exhibition also marks the return of Area 5, after nearly a decade as a video room, to use as a gallery.