Hiro Hiro Art Space is honored to be hosting the first solo exhibition of Iida Shoji in Taiwan, help facilitated by Kiyoshi Honnami, a Japanese art critic. It is also the very last exhibition that he himself agreed to in his life.
“During the period from 1968 to 1969 when Mono-Ha was born, the expression of Japanese contemporary art significantly changed from painting and sculpture to two-dimensional and three-dimensional. At this major turning point, as the main member of the Group GENSHOKU, Iida Shoji is very likely the key artist that influenced the birth of the “Mono-Ha". Art critic Kiyoshi Honnami made these very remarks at the exhibition of Iida Shoji, held by the Kamakura Gallery in Japan.
On October 22, 2019, Mr. Ikeda passed away due to an acute heart failure at a hospital in Shizuoka City, aged 91, devoting his entire life to art. The works of “Half & Half”, “Transmigration”, and “Paper” are the three important representatives of Iida Shoji. In this exhibition, Hiro Hiro Art Space displays two of them: “Half & Half” and “Paper”. In 1968, Iida Shoji first published “Half & Half”. This work uses the principle of mirror reflection to achieve the effect of illusion. For a long time, paintings have presented three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional plane through the “Perspective", so Iida Shoji used “Half & Half to raise the question of whether “Perspective” can also be described as an illusion trick confined to viewing. He attempted to surpass the “virtuality” of illusion tricks in artistic expressions and move on to present the “reality” of “existence”. In the same series of work in “Half & Half”, Iida Shoji brings in high heels, as a symbol of women, and places them in a birdcage. This metaphor expresses the repression of women and criticizes the unjust of societies. Six months after the exhibition of “Tricks and Vision” ended, the significant work of Mono-Ha, “Phase—Mother Earth”, was born.
IIDA SHOJI 〈Half＆Half（Pumps）〉, 1968/2019, 45 × 45 × 45 cm
The work “Paper” uses a large amount of printed paper that has been crumpled and stacked together to express the relationship between the “existence” and “materiality” of paper. After the process of printing, paper approaches the fact that paper is more so as “paper”. Furthermore, this towering pile of paper may collapse naturally, meaning this artwork is not just a still work, but involves the operation of the entire universe in motion.
IIDA SHOJI 〈Paper〉, 1968/2019
Works on paper after the 1970s, “Minimum” series and the “Surface of Earth” series use minimal colors and shapes to present the things in nature.
“As long as human beings have expectations, the relationship between self-hood and the world will continue to proceed in accordance with that degree of expectation. What should be understood at this time is that it is us humans, not the world, who hold these expectations. Therefore, we should limit our expectations and shrink it to its minimum.”
IIDA SHOJI〈Memories〉 1997, 44 × 54.5 cm
Iida Shoji is a philosopher of art and one of the enlighteners of Mono-Ha. He very likely inspired and prompted the epoch-making of the Japanese contemporary art theory.