Part 1 of this article↓↓


Isamu decided to live in Japan. He married Yoshiko Yamaguchi, a great Japanese actress. After his marriage, his artwork began to change. He immersed himself in unglazed pottery and in making works with Japanese paper.

Lights designed with Japanese paper are still popular as interior decorations.

Isamu had a strong desire to work on a project. It was the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims in Hiroshima. Because he was of Japanese and American descent, he strongly wished to create it.

However, just before he began work on the project, there were many voices in Japan that rejected him, saying, "Isamu Noguchi is an American." In the end, Isamu was not able to create the cenotaph. Later, he also experienced a divorce. His ex-wife, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, also said that "Isamu was too much of an American."

Since he was not accepted by the Japanese, he has once again sought out the world for his activities.

In 1956, he produced "Gardens for UNESCO" in Paris, where he had also studied.

"Gardens for UNESCO"

In 1960, he also created "Billy Rose Sculpture Garden" in Israel.

"Billy Rose Sculpture Garden"

In 1970, he created the fountain for the Japan World Exposition, Osaka.

Expo '70 Fountains, Osaka, Japan

Traveling around the world, he created new works one after another. However, there was one thing that even the successful artist Isamu could not create as he wished.

That is stone. Even after careful processing, the stone would break unexpectedly.

Isamu began to spend a lot of time fighting with stones. He repeatedly fought endless battles against stones from all over the world. However, he could not find a good stone and was about to give up.

At that time, he came to Japan again and headed for Kagawa Prefecture. There, he met a stonemason, who turned his artistic life to a new phase. He further confronted each stone and created a number of works that did not seem to have been processed from stone.

Through stone, Isamu came to accept failure as it is. Since then, his work has changed little by little. He began to use natural stones as his works without processing them.

Isamu's dialogue with stones never ceased.

Isamu Noguchi, who had a studio in a small town on the Seto Inland Sea, died on December 30, 1988, at the age of 84. He is said to have said that he wanted to be inside a stone when he died. Therefore, he used the stone below as a grave to put his remains in.

Isamu Noguchi's grave

How was the Isamu's story of the many difficulties he faced because of the dual nationality?

There are many of Isamu Noguchi's works and furniture in Japan, so if you are interested in, please come visit and check them out.

Even if that is not possible, you can easily check out the works of other Japanese contemporary artists online.

Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/partner/kyoto-art-gallery


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