“Cultivation of Nature & People Who Are Looking at it”. Signed Kudo 1970. Blue plastic bucket, gel, needles, hair. 26.5×30 cm.
Exhibited: “Tetsumi Kudo Cultivation”, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, 5 June 2020–10 January 2021, ill. in the catalogue p. 86.
Provenance: Private collection, Denmark.
The Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo was a visionary outsider. In recent years, he had almost been completely forgotten, but now his art is once again attracting international attention, including an exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art last year, where the present work “Cultivation by Nature & People Who Are Looking at it” was on display. Kudo's confrontation with a world in ecological decay and a self-destructive human race that seems morbidly preoccupied with technology speaks directly to the major issues of our time. His installations and texts are almost prophetic in their foresight, such as his manifesto for a new ecology “Pollution – Cultivation – New Ecology” written in 1971. This eerie accuracy makes him highly relevant to a contemporary audience; his radioactive micro-environments, glowing plastic nature, macabre hybrids and absurd organic installations appear so titillating for the whole sensory apparatus. Born out of the omnipresence of war and atomic bombs, but also up to date as if the artwork was conceived in our own virus and climate crisis era.
Kudo's fluorescent, biochemical and satirical doomsday scenarios are inhabited by melting flowers, severed heads, broken hearts, penis snails and fungi, or as here a blue bucket full of hair and needles. It is radical, different, strange and quite unforgettable!