photo: SHOZU Kazuo

Wood No.5 CJ

ArtistKADONAGA Kazuo
Material/ Techniquecedar
Size/ DurationH58×W427×D53cm
Copyright Notice© KADONAGA Kazuo
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in Ishikawa, Japan in 1946. Lives and works in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.

Originally aspiring to be a painter, Kadonaga Kazuo began creating wood sculptures in the early 1970s in response to the influences of 1960s minimal art and conceptual art. He thereafter developed his own production style. This typically involved thinly slicing a log or squared timber, drying the slices, and reassembling them in their original form or, in another case, stacking wet sheets of Japanese paper, compressing and drying them, then partly peeling back each sheet. In such works, he has sought to eliminate artificial fabrication, as much as possible, and display the material’s inherent qualities and the process generating the artwork. This creative approach he has uniformly applied in the use of bamboo, glass, silk (silkworms), and other media.

At first sight, "Wood No.5 CJ" looks just like a lying log. Actually it was made by restoring its original form by cutting a 4m-long cedar log into approximately 0.5mm-thick slices through repeated precise work operation and by laminating those thin slices. Each wood flake is as thin as paper, and subtle warps are caused while seasoned. The reassembled wood pieces have memories of the process of transformation, which is beyond the artist’s reach. His "Glass No.4 H" is a huge glass lump that has such depth as to attract viewers’ gaze. In the kiln specially made by Kadonaga for the production of this series, glass melting in the heat of 1450 degrees Celsius goes downward as if it were a stretch of liquid. The glass piles up unevenly according to its own weight, and is cooled for about three months. The generation process reveals itself in innumerable lines and curves. It appears peaceful but has an overwhelming presence at the same time. Both works show us that the repetition of the same production process does not always produce the same result, and the nature and power hidden in the material is brought out in each work.