Kazuo Kadonaga: Wood / Paper / Bamboo / Glass

July 21 - September 8, 2018


ARTFORUM, August 20, 2018
Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2018
RAFU SHIMPOJuly 20, 2018



Nonaka-Hill is pleased to present sculpture by Kazuo Kadonaga, produced in the materials wood, paper, bamboo and glass, between the years 1977 & 1999.

Kadonaga, who descends from a forestry family, chose instead to become an artist in the late 1960s. He tried painting at first, but around 1970 Kadonaga eschewed the personal, artistic expression of his own hand, opting to develop processes which allow for his chosen materials to become their own self-representing subjects. His works expose the medium’s innate characteristics, which often determine the artwork’s final form. Though he was, as a developing artist, impressed by the works of Arte Povera, Mono-ha and Process artists, Kadonaga sought a practice which deeply and systematically explored materials from the inside, out.

In the full gallery show, Kadonaga exhibits “Wood No. 8-D” from 1977. This cedar log, cut in strokes across the grain at regular intervals along its 12 foot length, reveals both the artist’s action and the material’s natural reaction through a cracking in a pattern which resembles piano keys. Another work, “Wood No. 5-CI” from 1984, was veneer-sliced along its 13-1/2 foot length, and the resulting wafer thin planes were glued back into original position at the core, allowing the outermost edges to respond to ever-changing environmental conditions. A paper work from 1983, “Paper 1-BF”, is comprised of over 3,000 sheets of handmade washi paper, laid atop each other while still wet in the paper-making process. The stacked sheets were compressed by extreme weight at one end, while on the other end, the sheets were peeled apart to allow the paper fibers to air-dry. The resulting work of pure paper exists in two contrasting self-explanatory states. Kadonaga also shows two works in poured glass. which result from over thirteen years of research and development. These imposing objects are formed by a thin stream of melted, ordinary plate glass poured continuously from a height of 10 feet for 48 hours into a customized annealing oven, where the resulting mass of solid glass material cools for three months into its final, self-determined form. “Glass No. 4-I” from 1999 weighs 1,900 pounds (846kg) and “Glass No. 4-L”, also from 1999, weighs 1,477 pounds (670kg). Also on view is “Bamboo No. 1-B”, from 1984. Presented as a vertical plane, the work is comprised of 50 stalks of young, green bamboo which have been slowly kiln dried to coax a deep, caramelized color transformation of the material's natural pigments. In each of these works, the artist brought industrially produced natural materials together with industrial techniques, engineered so that the resulting forms convey pure expressions of the material’s inherent potential.

“Each living thing, plant or animal, has a soul: my art is revealing the soul.”
- Kazuo Kadonaga


Kazuo Kadonaga was born in 1946 in Japan. He lives & works in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

Installation Views