Castelli Gallery is pleased to present “Noriko Ambe. Cutting – Without an Outline.” This is Ms. Ambe’s first exhibition in New York City after her acclaimed show in 2010 at the FLAG Art Foundation.
In this exhibition, Ms. Ambe will show new works consisting of books, objects that utilize file cabinets, sculptures and low reliefs. Ms. Ambe’s principal medium is paper, and common to all works in the exhibition is her unique technique of hand-cutting sheets of paper and layering them.
“Paper is just a material,” says Ms. Ambe. “When I cut a hole in a sheet of paper, the cut-off circle takes an existence of his own, while the hole remains in the sheet: what interests me is the hybrid area of oneness-duality, visible-invisible, positive-negative, material-spirit.”
Walking through the exhibition, it is easy to see references and make connections to well-known American artists of the past generations. Above all, Marcel Duchamp, whose work is not only the subject of a cut book, but whose spirit is present in the repeated employment of file cabinets which, at first appearance, look just like ‘ready-mades.’ For Ms. Ambe, however, the file cabinets are never purely ‘ready- mades’: their drawers become a “container” to fill with cut paper, the cabinet itself a metaphor for the human body. In the exhibition, a few cabinets sit on the gallery floor. In one case, drawers from a file cabinet are pulled out, filled with cut paper, and then attached to the wall at equal intervals from each other, in a vertical column reminiscent of a Donald Judd “stack.”
Another artist Ms. Ambe is referencing is Roy Lichtenstein. In the work ‘Cutting – Without an Outline,’ Ms. Ambe employed a sheet of paper covered with red Ben-Day dots that reduce in size in a vanishing horizon. She cut little circles onto it, without reference to the printed dots: what existed, what was removed, and what remains create a work of surprising complexity.
Noriko Ambe was born in Saitama, Japan, in 1967. She lives and works between New York and Tokyo.