‘A Touch of Bauhaus’ by Hiroko Koshino at WhiteBox in SoHo is an immersive experiential exhibition that displays a selection of work from this artist’s six-decades long career. Hiroko Koshino’s work hinges on the tenants of several art and architectural movements: the Bauhaus, as the show’s title suggests, but also Japanese modernism, constructivism and abstract expressionism, as well as traditional Japanese art and craft making. Included in the show are dresses, sculptural installations, kimono, Zen poetry, drawings, photographic documents, catalogues, light installation and, of course, paintings.
WHO: Hiroko Koshino
WHAT: A Touch of Bauhaus
WHERE: WhiteBox, curated by Kyoko Sato
WHEN: November 1 (Open until December 1, 2018)
This ‘total work’ is not only transcultural but also trans-historical. It is also a fine example of artistry and craftsmanship combined. Although at first glance this work does not necessarily read as political, one cannot ignore the connotation and legacy that Hiroko herself and the art movement she references are situated within. Koshino’s gestural abstract paintings recall the abstract calligraphy of Saburo Hasegawa and other avant-garde Japanese modernist artists working in the 1950’s.
By immersive one means that each of the pieces in the show functions in concert with one another to create a deeply personalized and homogenous conversation. For instance, there are dresses that speak with paintings – borrowing colors and patterns from each other. Some of the dresses intentionally function as fine art sculptural objects while also deftly speaking to the world of haute couture. Lighting functions not simply as neutral illumination but as a sculptural form building device. In this sense Koshino’s large scale paintings do not simply hang on the wall but hover in a darkened space as though lit from within. The experience of this work lies as much in the negative space between the pieces as it does in the individual items.
It is from these vantage points that the viewers’ own body can disappear, that perspective collapses and the work begins to function as it is intended as a total work of art or, to borrow a Bauhaus term, as Gesamkunstwerk.
ZEN GRAFFITI 2018
Simple and rich life
It sounds easy, but difficult to have
Zen is an important hint to live such life
Following Heart, freely move my hands
Clouds floating sky
Like water flowing endlessly
Simply follow my free spirit
To live with natural flow of our living
You can feel different winds
Let’s go to the journey to discover yourself you
Have never imagined
-Hiroko Koshino 2018