Masayuki Koorida is well known for his landmark work Existence in The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. For all its quiet majesty and widespread admiration, Existence represents but one aspect of Koorida’s repertoire.
In the last decade, Koorida has emerged as among the most elegant voices in Contemporary sculpture. Although he has exhibited in China, Japan and across Europe, the Meijer Gardens exhibition is among his very first in the United States. Sculpture at a variety of scales and in a variety of media will be featured.
Born and trained in Kyoto, Japan, Koorida lives and works primarily from a studio in Shanghai, China. As a sculptor who works frequently with large stones, the studio in China places him in close contact with abundant stone quarries, but also allows him an opportunity to have the large industrial space needed for carving and polishing. From here, Koorida operates a very hands-on studio with very few assistants. He is deeply, physically engaged with his work.
Audiences will undoubtedly be surprised to encounter both grand and intimate scale sculptures in which the rigors of geometry and geometrically-based imagery play a significant role. Patterned forms involving the circle and sphere abound. Each is rendered with careful attention to the form and a meticulous treatment of the surface. The latter is made even more astonishing when recognizing these affects are the results of human hands. Although Koorida often uses titles like “seed” or “flower” for such sculptures, the works themselves are more scientific and mathematical, than natural and organic in form or as seen with the naked eye.
Granite, in a completely carved and highly polished form, plays a prominent role, but so too does black and white marble. In its precise state, with completely and carefully articulated surfaces, such work may feel in opposition to the rugged and only partially carved properties of Existence. Hand polished to a mirror finish, his sculptures are deceiving because they appear machined. But more than stone, gleaming works in stainless steel and acrylic will also be featured. Using industrial materials, Koorida challenges us to think beyond Existence.
One final element to note is an extraordinary group of drawings that Koorida has created specifically for Meijer Gardens. These are not small sketches or preparatory renderings, but monumental presentations that can evoke the same sense of awe as the sculptures themselves. Second, although the decided use of geometry may seem familiar, close inspection reveals the cohesion of thousands of individual pencil strokes that combine to create singular forms. By any measure, these never before seen works will leave a lasting impression.
Masayuki Koorida: Beyond Existence is a significant endeavor devoted to a deeper understanding of the sculptor and his sculpture. Considered with the granite ensemble in the Japanese Garden, it provides a meaningful opportunity to come to know a master beyond one masterpiece. This exhibition has been organized exclusively with the artist and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.