No Intention

State Textile and Industry Museum Augsburg, Germany

Sept.1 - Nov.4, 2018

The exhibition by Koho Mori-Newton can be understood as a retrospective overview of his art from the last 35 years. It shows the Japanese-born artist as an exponent of rare radical tendencies, concerned not with content, but entirely with form. With impressive stringency – puristic and minimalistic – he explores the conditions of aesthetic expression. With acrylic, pencil or Indian ink, he moves intuitively forwards on various canvases, which he develops using linear patterns both simple and complex.

The artistic approach of Mori-Newton is characterized by a fundamental skepticism towards meaning and sense. His works have given up the function of depiction, representing nothing other than themselves. In his art, he dissolves the traditional alliance between representation and that which is represented. Mori-Newton is more concerned with the exploration of the fundamental elements of drawing and painting – in this case primarily the line. He carries out this research experimentally in a continuous series of new variations. It is only logical that such a method of working produces not individual pictures, but rather pictures series that show Mori-Newton moving along his very own path of abstraction.

These series always work within the modus of repetition and difference. In every new version, subtle differences from the previous one can be found. The repetition embedded within difference ultimately allows a certain amount of self-assurance, which, however, does not reach any kind of conclusion. Mori-Newton trusts only the infallibility of his eye, the phenomenological perception of which he constantly revises and corrects. This brings forth art which can be described as archaeology not of that which is seen, but of sight itself.  

While Mori-Newton's drawings primarily explore the line and the image resulting from it, his silk works are concerned with light and space. The „Path of Silk“, created especially for the Augsburg exhibition, is featured as a striking experiment in perception that allows the space to be created anew whenever it is entered.

Mori-Newton remains a seeker who relentlessly and insightfully opens up his artistic procedures to the observer. One paradox, however, determines the entirety of his art: the intentional lack of intention.

Karl Borromäus-Murr