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Takehisa Kosugi Spacings Art Exhibition - Ikon Gallery

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Influential Japanese Artist In First Major Solo UK Show
A pioneer of experimental music in Japan and one of the most influential artists of his generation is putting on his first major solo exhibition in the UK at Birmingham's Ikon Gallery.

Takehisa Kosugi, Ikon Gallery, Spacings, Birmingham,
Renowned Japanese artist Takehisa Kosugi puts on his first major solo exhibition in the UK


Work by Japanese composer and artist Takehisa Kosugi will be on display in the Spacings exhibition from 22 July to 27 September 2015.

Award-winning Kosugi has become renowned for often using everyday materials and radio electronics that interact with wind, electricity and light to make sonic relationships between objects in his work.

This exhibition will feature three sound installations, including one made especially for Ikon Gallery. Ikon's exhibition features Mano-dharma, electronic (1967), a work in which Kosugi makes use of waves that themselves do not generate sound, such as electric waves, radio frequency waves and wind movement.

He draws sound from them by installing an electronic system within the space. Electronic wave transmission devices and receivers hang by string from the ceiling, from which the artist produces sound by means of interference that occur between them and affecting that sound further through the use of a floor standing fan. Simultaneously, Kosugi projects an image of ocean waves on the gallery wall as an analogy.

Takehisa Kosugi, Ikon Gallery, Spacings, Birmingham,
Takehisa Kosugi's work Mano-dharma, electronic


Emerging in the early 1960's, Kosugi co-founded Japan's first group dedicated to collective improvisation, Group Ongaku, and later the Taj Mahal Travellers.

He was closely associated with the Fluxus movement and later joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the 1970s. He became Musical Director in 1995 and worked with the dance company until its final performance in 2011.

Kosugi, who received a John Cage Award for Music from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in 1994, was first drawn to music by his father's enthusiasm for playing the harmonica. He was also influenced while growing up in post-war Tokyo by recordings of violinists Mischa Elman and Joseph Szigeti.

Kosugi, talking about his works, said: "I needed to liberate music from my own control, but improvisation is conversely still controlled by your playing habits.
"What electronics demonstrated to me was the movement of electronic waves separate from myself. Developing a relationship with those phenomena is a way to transcend yourself."

Kosugi made waves experimenting with radio electronics in his work Catch-Wave in 1967, which included several transmitters, radios and a toy slide projector suspended from the ceiling. They were close enough to one other to cause audio and visual interference and the audience walking through the installation made the component pieces move, therefore creating constantly changing interactions.

Takehisa Kosugi, Ikon Gallery, Spacings, Birmingham,
Interspersion for Light and Sound by Takehisa Kosugi


Another creation by the artist is Interspersion for Light and Sound (2000). It features a perspex box filled with white sugar and/or sand emitting faint electronic crackles of sound and light from the electronics and LEDs concealed below the surface. This is caused by the effect of see-through and hear-through conditions on the sugar/sand.

This exhibition is supported by the Japan Foundation, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Takehisa Kosugi - Spacings
Ikon Gallery
22 July – 27 September 2015
11am - 5pm. Admission is free.

Ikon is open Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays,
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Why? See a renowned Japanese artist
When: July 22 - September 27, 2015
Phone: 0121 248 0708
Where: Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Birmingham city centre
Cost: Free
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