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Isamu Noguchi

PaceWildenstein 22

The brilliance of Isamu Noguchi’s stone sculptures stems from his empathy with the material. As in the story of the Zen butcher, Noguchi splits his stones along their natural fractures. Beginnings, 1985, is a random placement of five stones that reflects the Japanese concept of a stone garden: the paradoxical transformation of stone into a growing, living thing—the ultimate reparative illusion and miracle. The boundary between the inorganic and the organic blurs, suggesting that no such division exists in nature, only in our minds—that in fact there is only a continuum of matter. One might say that Noguchi is, in essence, a master Zen artist who shows us how natural it is to be mystical.

Noguchi has said that he splits stone to get to its inside—to get at its “jugular.” What results, however, is an outside as well as an inside: each piece seems like a whole, living body, however much it is

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