December 3, 2008 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Phase — Mother Earth, a piece created by Mono-ha artist Nobuo Sekine in 1968, has been re-created:
Consisting of a hole dug into the ground, 2.7 metres deep and 2.2 metres in diameter, with the excavated earth compacted into a cylinder of exactly the same dimensions, Phase — Mother Earth was instrumental in the early development of work by the Mono-ha artist group, and has been considered a landmark work in Japanese postwar art history.
More about Mono-ha inside.

What is Mono-ha?
‘Mono-ha’ refers to a group of artists who were active from the late sixties to early seventies, using both natural and man-made materials in their work. Their aim was simply to bring ‘things’ together, as far as possible in an unaltered state, allowing the juxtaposed materials to speak for themselves. Hence, the artists no longer ‘created’ but ‘rearranged’ ‘things’ into artworks, drawing attention to the interdependent relationships between these ‘things’ and the space surrounding them. The aim was to challenge pre-existing perceptions of such materials and relate to them on a new level.
Other Mono-ha artists:

Kishio Suga

Lee U-Fan

Koji Enokura

Noboru Takayama

Noriyuki Haraguchi

Narita Katsuhiko

Katsuro Yoshida

Koshimizu Hayao
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I often don't get art. My first thought was "Phase 2 — Hide the Body."

Looking through the other links I am just as confused. Maybe it's a cultural thing, or an ignorance thing, but while I will concede there is art here, I am still lost.

By the way, you posted right after me two days in a row!
posted by cjorgensen at 12:11 PM on December 3, 2008

Oh, the "re-created" link is cool. I didn't click it the first time around. This art may not speak to me but it is neat to see how it's done.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:13 PM on December 3, 2008

I've spent the last few weeks intermittently digging post holes for an expanded garden fence. My daughter helped with the last few I did, and we spent a while looking in the holes and talking about the different layers in the ground -- grass, then thatch, then dark topsoil, then reddish sand and gravel. So I totally get this and think it's awesome.

If I ever get to finally build myself a shed/workshop, I think I'll do this with the foundation hole.
posted by rusty at 12:27 PM on December 3, 2008

If he's overseeing the digging of the hole and the building of the cylinder then he's no longer an artist, he's a general contractor.

Bet it comes in two weeks late and 50% over budget.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 12:46 PM on December 3, 2008

phase in the sky (空相)
posted by jcruelty at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2008

Some of this stuff (Takayama particularly) reminds me strongly of Beuys.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2008

And I thought this was going to be a post about the monorail that is really more a Shelbyville idea than a Springfield one.
posted by stevil at 5:40 PM on December 3, 2008

I really like this piece of art. I'd love to see it. Very simple idea, perfectly executed.

It affects me somehow but I haven't found a way to articulate the how.
posted by Kattullus at 8:30 PM on December 4, 2008

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