Yoko Tawada on Nobuo Sekine



The praised writer here muses on a sculpture by the pioneering Japanese sculptor and conceptual artist Nobuo Sekine: “Every morning you see your face in the mirror of rectangular civilization and then go into a fragile glass skyscraper.”

“You were a passenger standing alone on deck. The pitching of the ship shook your intestines. The sharp pain you felt in your eyes was the result of ruthless sunshine. Strangely, though, your memory does not contain the color blue. The sky shone green, and the sea silently undulated, the color of a rock garden,” Tawada says of Sekine’s sculpture ‘Phase of Nothingness’ (1970).

Yoko Tawada (b.1960) is a Japanese writer. Tawada has published several books – including short stories, novels, poems, plays and essays – and among her novels are ‘The Naked Eye’ (2003/1993), ‘The Bridegroom Was a Dog’ (1998), ‘Memoirs of a Polar Bear’ (2016) and ‘The Emissary’ (2018). She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Goethe Medal.

Nobuo Sekine (1942-2019) is a Japanese artist known for his sculptures and mixed media wall pieces. As a founding member of the Mono-ha (School of Things) movement, he was interested in exploring the relationship of natural and human-made materials to the space they inhabit. Sekine is the recipient of multiple prizes and represented Japan at the 1970 Venice Biennial. His work has been exhibited at museums worldwide, including the National Museum of Art in Osaka, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk.

In the video, Yoko Tawada reads a text about Nobuo Sekine. The text is called ’The Root of a Whale’, and the focus of the text is ‘Phase of Nothingness’, 1970, by Nobuo Sekine written for the anthology ‘Looking Writing Reading Looking – Writers on Art from the Louisiana Collection’ (2019). More information here: https://www.artbook.com/9788793659216.html

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Edited by Kasper Bech Dyg

Produced by Kasper Bech Dyg and Christian Lund

Sound recordings by Pejk Malinovski

Cover photo: Detail from ‘Phase of Nothingness’, 1970 by Nobuo Sekine

Works by Nobuo Sekine: © Nobuo Sekine. All rights reserved. DACS / VISDA 2020

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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