Mono-Ha, or The School of Things, was the name given to a loose group of artists that appeared in Japan post 1968. This exhibition documents much of what occurred, with a lot of photos and quotes, as well as some beautiful art.
What is immediately apparent is the serenity of this work which is based on a long and distinguished aesthetic tradition. It has a striking purity. Some of the work is hand-made, although I would not describe it as crafted. The materials are simple and often organic: wood, paper, rocks, rope, cotton etc. It is closer to Arte Povera, as represented by the puffs of white cotton used by Jannis Kounellis, than the industrially fabricated work of the American minimalists which were made at the same time.
This Japanese work feels a lot more human. It comes from a response to the natural world which means, I think, that we respond to it on a sensate level.
If you are in the area, why don’t you take a break from the pressure of the taxis and the tourists milling about in Piccadilly? I am sure that you will feel restored, at least temporarily.
‘Tribute to Mono-Ha’ is at the Cardi Gallery, 22 Grafton Street, London Wq1S 4EX until 26 July.