Annely Juda Fine Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the Japanese artist Yoshishige Saito (1904 - 2001) at Frieze Masters, 2016, including two large-scale sculptures and a selection of reliefs by the artist spanning from 1966 to right up to his very last work.
Yoshishige Saito is recognised in his native Japan as one of the great abstract sculptors of the twentieth century. Influenced by European and Russian art of the early 20th Century – especially the Russian Constructivists – in 1920 Saito Saito saw an exhibition in Tokyo that was to have great influence on his work. The exhibition was on the Russian Avant-Garde and was organised by the Russian artist David Burliuk, whom he also met at the time. By the 1930’s, he had started to make plywood relief sculptures. In keeping with Constructivist principals, he saw these works not as ‘a relationship between pictorial form and background’ but existing as objects in their own right.
During the Second World War, most of Saito’s works were lost or destroyed, but when the war was over and materials were readily available once more, he began to incorporate large planks and discs of painted wood into his work; the results of which are larger scale sculptural installations. In 1957 Saito won a prestigious “New Artist’s Prize” in Japan, and this exposure helped towards his later inclusion in the Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales. Saito was professor of Tama Art University, Tokyo from 1964 to 1973 and his teachings included encouraging his students to create art that was modern but not constrained by Western concepts. Several of his students became central figures of the Mono-ha movement, including Sekine Nobuo, Suga Kishio and Koshimizu Susumu.