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Dia Art Foundation adds works by Lee Ufan and Kishio Suga to its collection
Kishio Suga, Placement of Condition, 1973/2016, foreground, 541 West 22nd Street, New York City. © Kishio Suga. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dia Art Foundation announced today that it has expanded its collection of art from the 1960s and 1970s by adding works by two new artists from Asia—Lee Ufan and Kishio Suga. Both of these artists are considered to be key members and vocal proponents of the Mono-ha movement that emerged in Japan in the 1960s.

These acquisitions will introduce the materials and techniques of Mono-ha into Dia’s permanent collection. Mono-ha’s emphasis on natural and man-made materials aligns with the interests of Arte Povera, Land art, and Minimalist art, which are movements that form the foundation of Dia’s collection. The addition of works by Lee and Suga incorporates intellectually and historically connected practices that emerged in conversation with, but distinct from, American and European art movements, allowing Dia to present the diverse range of practices that developed internationally in the 1960s.

“Since arriving at Dia, I have had a strong desire to deepen the institution’s commitment to reflect a greater understanding of the seminal work that was being made internationally during the period that Dia has championed,” said Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “The addition of Lee Ufan and Kishio Suga to Dia’s collection was a natural progression for our foundation. Both artists were contributing to parallel conversations around Minimalism and Postminimalism in the 1960s and 1970s, and are still developing their resonant and influential practices today.”

Lee Ufan
Lee’s practices focus on presenting encounters between natural and man-made materials. In 1972, he changed the titles of the works he had made up to that point to Relatum, a title that was chosen for its reference to Heideggerian philosophy and a title that conveyed the artist’s interest in contingent circumstances. His use of “Relatum” can be compared to the frequent use of “untitled” by American Minimalists.

The three works by Lee that are entering Dia’s collection encourage viewers to focus on the empathetic presence of materials. Relatum (formerly System, 1969), one of Lee’s earliest Mono-ha sculptures, is composed of six steel plates that are bent at ninety-degree angles. In this case, the artist believes that the arrangement of steel can result in many different effects for viewers, defying the perception that steel is an inorganic or lifeless object. Whereas Relatum (formerly Language, 1971) juxtaposes two diametrically opposite materials, pairing seven thick soft cushions with large boulders. In Relatum (1974), a long wooden beam hangs from the ceiling by a rope. This arrangement captures the interconnectedness of varied materials, evoking a defining principle of Mono-ha.

Dia will present these works by Lee at Dia:Beacon in spring 2018.

Kishio Suga
The acquisition includes five works by Suga that represent the breadth and scope of his artistic practice. Diagonal Phase (1969/2012) and Abandoned Situation (1971) represent Suga’s earliest and most emblematic Mono-ha works, while Placement of Condition (1973/2016), Separating Dependence (1973/2013), and Perimeter (1985) demonstrate how he began working on increasingly complex and contingent situations throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The term “situation” is used by Suga to describe his installations that highlight both the internal qualities of a given substance (such as mass, structure, and weight) and the external forces acting on it (such as gravity, humidity, and time).

Two of the newly acquired works—Diagonal Phase and Placement of Condition—are on view in the exhibition Kishio Suga at Dia:Chelsea through July 29, 2017.

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