BP1 | Isamu Noguchi

Octetra (five-element pyramid), 1965 (2021)
Fiberglass reinforced plastic and paint
224 x 272 x 253 cm

Octetra (three-element stack), 1965 (2021)
Fiberglass reinforced plastic and paint
224 x 233 x 135.8 cm

Octetra (two-element column), 1965 (2021)
Fiberglass reinforced plastic and paint
224.2 x 135.8 x 135.8 cm

Octetra (one element, inverted), 1965 (2021)
Fiberglass reinforced plastic and paint
112 x 135.8 x 135.8 cm

Presented by White Cube | BE04

Octetra, conceived in 1968 as a modular, infinitely extensible play system based on the futurist Buckminster Fuller’s theories about the basic structures that can be derived from nature. Both his playground equipment and ‘play scapes’ highlight Noguchi’s desire to be not just a sculptor but a shaper of space. Writing about his plans for a playground for the United Nations in 1952, Noguchi stated that he wished to make ‘a place for endless exploration, of endless opportunity for changing play’. Octetra is emblematic of Noguchi’s drive to change our notion of what sculpture should be and to engage our sensory and physical interaction with his art. Originally designed as one of a number of ambiguous play sculptures for the Lunar Garden he proposed as the United States pavilion for Osaka Expo ’70. Although Lunar Garden went unexecuted, Octetra’s resemblance, particularly in its pyramidal, heaven-pointing configuration, to NASA’s Apollo lunar modules is neither incidental nor coincidental.

© The Noguchi Museum / ARS. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)

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