Installation view, Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi

Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi

September 20, 2007 – May 25, 2008

Isamu Kenmochi and Isamu Noguchi first met at the architect Kenzo Tange’s office at Tokyo University June 24th, 1950. From August of that same year, Noguchi spent approximately two weeks at the Industrial Arts Research Institute in Tokyo where Kenmochi was serving as a technical officer. The two Isamus shared a similar mission: to create and design a universally exceptional object, something with an intrinsic beauty of simplicity that is grounded in the knowledge of natural materials but also combined with a vision and embrace of experimental techniques and materials. Based in Japanese traditions of design, they both understood that this shared mission needed to go beyond the mere exotic. One of Kenmochi’s and Noguchi’s many collaborations resulted in a strikingly original woven bamboo chair made in 1950. This actual chair is no longer extant but will be recreated for the purpose of this exhibition. It is a classical sculptural form of texture and beauty as well as representing a technical accomplishment, distilling the natural elasticity and strength of bamboo with the durability and efficiency of iron. Together these two artists and designers made a chair that created a sense of lightness in modern design with a charm of warm, seemingly traditional tactility.