Tetsumi Kudo: Cultivation at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, through August 16, 2020

Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo (1935-1990) was a radical and visionary outsider. Almost forgotten until recently, Kudo is being rediscovered internationally due to his foreboding depictions of an ailing world and the emergence of a ‘new ecology’.

This exhibition’s laboratory of remarkable cultivation environments allows us to study Kudo’s radiantly coloured and grotesque propositions for the cultivation of life in a world, where humans, technology and polluted nature have merged.

By combining found materials and modelled elements into peculiar sculptures, Kudo conspicu­ously anticipated many of the aesthetic trends we see in contemporary art as well as the present-day penchant for the surreal and grotesque. His works also appear strikingly relevant in the cultural and political agendas of today when it comes to e.g. environment and procreation.

Kudo’s work is affected by a childhood in Japan in the aftermath of the atomic bomb. His approach to humanity’s self-destruction and ecological decadence however is both unsentimental and even quite humorous in its dealing with how new life can develop in spite of everything.” ― Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

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Tetsumi Kudo. Cultivation by Radioactivity in the Electronic Circuit, 1968. Mixed media. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art ©Tetsumi Kudo Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Cultivation by Radioactivity in the Electronic Circuit, 1968. Mixed media. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art ©Tetsumi Kudo Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Pollution – Cultivation – New Ecology (Portrait of Ionecso), 1971. Assemblage: Mixed media. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art © Tetsumi Kudo Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Cultivation by Radioactivity, 1967. UV tube, papier maché, paint, wire, 175 x 63 x 50 cm. Collection Fabre. Photo: documenta archiv / Fabian Frinzel © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Cultivation by Radioactivity in the Electronic Circuit (Pink Flower), 1968. Plastic, plexi glass, polyester, 65 x 25 x 25 cm. Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery. Photo: Jessica Eckert © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Cultivation by Nature & People Who Are Looking at It, 1970-71. Plastic bucket, plastic, mirrored glass, papier maché, cotton, artificial soil, resin, adhesive, paint, artificial hair, 36 x 23 x 23 cm. Private Collection © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Bonheur, 1974. Happiness, 1974. Cage, paint, artificial soil, plastic flowers, cotton, plastic, resin, string, cigarettes, thermometer, Aspro tablets, circuit board, 29 x 48 x 22 cm. Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery. Photo: Lance Brewer © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Paradise, 1980. Cage, paint, plastic flower, plastic, metal coins, resin, 78 x 36 x 20,3 cm. Private Collection, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery. Photo: Lance Brewer © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Flowers, 1967-68. From: Garden of the Metamorphosis in the Space Capsule, 1968. 10 artificial flowers, paper, iron. Private Collection, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Andrea Rosen Gallery © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

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Tetsumi Kudo. Human Bonsai – Freedom of Deformity – Deformity of Freedom, 1979. Artificial soil, resin, plastic, wood, paint, cotton, wire, metal chain, glass beads, 39 x 74 x 22 cm. Private Collection, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Andrea Rosen Gallery © Tetsumi Kudo / Adagp, Paris 2020 / VISDA

Tetsumi Kudo: Cultivation is organized and curated by Tine Colstrup. 

Images courtesy Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark.