Testsumi Kudo: at Hauser & Wirth London, North Gallery (22 Sept to 21 Nov 2015) Review

Testsumi Kudo: at Hauser & Wirth London, North Gallery (22 Sept to 21 Nov 2015)


Walking into the gallery from the cold, dark and dreary November’s afternoon, you are immediately greeted with the bright green, tactile surface of vast amounts of Astroturf spreading across the entirety of the space and up onto the plinths. That which would usually be the white cube space of the gallery now sports this summery colour and playful texture. The surface is disconcerting underfoot at first, unexpected and welcoming.


This exhibition consists of the works of Tetsumi Kudo (1935-1990), which have been installed, in conjunction with Andrea Rosen Gallery who represented the artist. The show focuses on Kudo’s work developed in post-war Japan and France, his work embodies multiple medias, including sculpture, installation and performance. His practice covers themes of disillusionment in regards to the modern world, advancement in technology and human ideals. Kudo’s sculptures depict ‘…a science fictional dystopian picturing of the body as part machine…looking less like sculpture than like movie props from lurid science fiction films…’ –Mike Kelley ‘Cultivation by Radioactivity’


The bright pastel colours of the poka dot boxes and the lurid green ‘goo’ like colour that occurs within gives the items an otherworldly feel with underlying points of recognition, the dice like appearance to the boxes, what looks like egg punnets, and light bulbs etc. These common universal items create intrigue and familiarity. This sense of familiarity and the curation of the objects create a highly fictional dystopian reality, due to the immersive nature of the AstroTurf and the ‘make do’ usage of the objects. Highlighting the impact of nuclear catastrophe and the excess of consumerism in society associated with the post –war economic boom.


‘Votre Portrait – T,’ 1965—1966

His cube series mixes humanity with objects, replicas of human organs intertwined and merging with familiar man made objects. Creating mutations of sorts, unnatural and futuristic possible products of a post-apocalyptic world. These mutations are contained within oversized dice, emphasizing the fragility of life and the impact of chance.


‘Cultivation of Nature & People Who Are Looking At It’, 1970—1971

Alongside these boxes are clear bio domes housing artificial plant life. The combination of detritus creates an in cased seemingly polluted environment, not suitable for life forms. The addition of circuit boards and batteries links the biological to the mechanical. Kudo’s work although transcending formal categorisation, is universal in its language.


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