18 Nov - 26 Dec 2023, 6 Jan - 21 Jan 2024

【Nerhol Exhibition Extended】
The Mass is pleased to announce that the dates of our current exhibition, ‘REVERBERATION’ by Nerhol, have been extended into the new year.
The exhibition will re-open from Saturday 6th January to Sunday 21st January 2024 to coincide with the public production of Nerhol’s installation artwork at StandBy.
*Please note that the gallery will also be open on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December 2023, our last opening dates in 2023 before we close for the holidays.
We look forward to your visit.
The Mass presents, ‘REVERBERATION,’ an exhibition of new works by the artist duo Nerhol.
In this exhibition, the duo will present new works centred around the theme of naturalised plants, a subject matter which they have been consistently working on in recent years.
Nerhol consists of Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka, and their work is a fusion of their respective crafts; Iida, who carves and sculpts, and Tanaka, who works with paper and two-dimensional compositions. In their practice, the pair physically build up a series of photographs of a particular motif and sculpt them into a single piece. The resulting work speaks to the multilayered moments of time contained within it. Their attempts to work against the layers of time and history contained in the photographs have resulted in works of art that take on new physical forms and visual aesthetics that are entirely unique.
The naturalised plants that form the theme of Nerhol’s work in this exhibition are plants that have been transported from their original native habitat to other regions due to various factors, including human activities, and have eventually become wild in these new areas. Contained within these plants is an existing history, something that transported them, or the human actions that created the cause and effect. It is these intrinsic concepts of time and history and the intervention and intertwining of various factors that are the underlying essential concepts of Nerhol’s work.
In all of Nerhol’s works, the accumulation of time has been replaced by layers of paper, and through the sculpting of them, reveals the “something” contained within. Iida’s physicality and Tanaka’s thoughtfulness accompany the work, and the density of it has been heightened by their repeated acts of ‘dialogue’ that the two of them repeatedly engage in. For the two artists, the act of ‘dialogue’ is already an intrinsic part of their practice, and is in fact, at the very heart of it.
The naturalised plants shown in this exhibition are part of an ongoing series that Nerhol has been working on for the past few years, and is a body of work that reminds us of the things we normally see without thinking, and provides us time to look again and reassess. Naturalised plants have historically survived on a completely different time scale from our own and are full of vitality and adaptability to their environment, proving they are both resilient and beautiful.
Both a photograph and a sculpture.
Both a moment and a history.
Nerhol’s work exists at the intersection of these elements and is full of questions and challenges, dealing with universal themes while constantly seeking new forms of expression. It is an act of approaching the essence of art itself. Nerhol’s art is a form of dialogue that requires flexibility, diversity and understanding of others; an important act within today’s society.
Nerhol is an artist duo that consists of Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka.
The pair had previously developed their own independent practices, but found an affinity in their methodology for how to raise issues and communicate them to people in the present day, and in 2007 they began their activities as Nerhol. Their work began as an exploration of the differentiation of the canonical forms of the written word, its inscriptions and pre-existing iconography, and in 2011, Nerhol began to attract a great deal of attention with their sculptures of distorted human figures, created by sculpting a bundle of more than 200 different portraits taken in a just few minutes. Since then, they have participated in numerous exhibitions at galleries and museums in Japan and abroad, selecting various motifs such as roadside trees, animals, water, image data uploaded onto the internet and video records; creating works that distort the time axis of these various motifs. In their work, they consistently attempt to reveal the multi-layered modes of existence within organic objects that we tend to overlook in our daily lives.
Major solo exhibitions include ‘Affect’ (Daiichi Seimei Gallery / M5 Gallery, Tokyo, 2023), ‘critical plane’ (Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Tokyo, 2021), ‘Interview Portrait House and ‘Room’ ( Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea, 2017), ‘Promenade’ (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, 2016), ‘Index’ (Foam Museum, Amsterdam, 2015). Group exhibitions include ‘The 8th Tsubakikai Tsubakikai 8 This New World / This New World 2nd SEASON “QUEST”‘ (Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, 2021 / 2022), ‘New Photographic Objects: The Materiality of Photography and Video’ (Saitama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, 2020), ‘VOCA Exhibition 2020: Prospects for Contemporary Art – New Flat Artists’ (Ueno Royal Museum, 2020), ‘Megururi Art Shizuoka; (Shizuoka City Museum of Art, 2017). Major awards include the VOCA Prize (2020).
Iida was born in 1981 in Shizuoka, Japan. In 2004, he graduated from the Department of Sculpture Course of the Fine Arts Department of Nihon University College of Art and completed his postgraduate studies in Advanced Art at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 2014. He is currently based in Tokyo.
Tanaka was born 1980 in Shizuoka, Japan. In 2004, he graduated from the Department of Spatial Design, Musashino Art University and is currently undertaking a master’s degree at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University. He continues his activities based in Tokyo.
Special opening on Monday December 25th and Tuesday December 26th
©︎Nerhol, Courtesy of artist and The Mass


John Pawson

14 April - 14 May 2023

Whilst still best known as an architect, in recent years John Pawson’s photographic work has been garnering growing international recognition. This trajectory of interest originated in the publication just over a decade ago of A Visual Inventory (Phaidon Press), followed five years later by Spectrum (Phaidon Press), which was transposed by curator Carrie Scott from the pages of a book into an immersive architectural installation in an iconic brutalist building — 180 Strand — in central London. In 2021 John Pawson – A Point of View was then mounted at the Casa Dei Tre Oci, during the Venice Art Biennale and in 2022 John Pawson, Looking for Light, comprising sixteen new print works, formed one of the inaugural exhibitions at the Bastian Gallery in Berlin.
This new exhibition at The Mass, Tokyo — the first solo exhibition of Pawson’s work in Japan — provides visitors with an intimate opportunity to experience Pawson’s unique perspective on the world — his point of view — as its focus shifts from tiny details of colour, texture and formal composition to evocations of light, atmosphere and emotion:
The exhibition programme is divided between the three gallery spaces of The Mass and an outdoor area in the neighbouring StandBy. Two galleries offer a visual encounter with sequences of chromatically ordered images drawn from Spectrum, while the third space debuts Pawson’s series Home, where the subject of the artist’s lens is his own domestic environments. Set in counterpoint to this photographic inventory is a contemplative installation, commissioned for The Mass and constructed in proximity to Harajuku’s Cat Street within the installation space, StandBy. Across more than four decades of practice, Pawson has been consistent in his view that his work is architecture not art, but with Lunula — titled Lunula for its crescent geometry — he consciously pushes closer to the very threshold of such distinctions, with the creation of a charged, inhabitable form in which space, surface, light and the burning of incense are experienced as a resonantly seamless totality.
The exhibition is a sort of homecoming for Pawson, who spent a number of years in his mid-twenties teaching English in Nagoya, before moving to Tokyo where he frequented the studio of renowned architect and designer Shiro Kuramata. His experiences in Japan and his encounter with Kuramata left a lasting impression on the young Pawson, leading to his multifaceted career that encompasses architecture, photography and design.
To coincide with the opening of the exhibition, The Mass will host an artist talk event between John Pawson and Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto. The talk will be moderated by the exhibition curator, Carrie Scott, and will provide an opportunity for the two figures to discuss each other’s life and work in a variety of fields. The event will take place on the evening of Friday April 14th and will be free and open to the public, with limited seats available by reservation. Further details on the talk, start time and how to make a reservation will be shared via The Mass’ website and social media.
John Pawson
John Pawson CBE, RDI, born in Halifax, Yorkshire in 1949
Following a period of employment in the family textile business, Pawson lived and worked in Japan for four years in his mid-twenties, before returning to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He established his architectural practice in 1981, designing spaces with clean lines, oriented in precise details devoid of excess ornamentation. This minimalist aesthetic has lent itself to the design of homes, stores, hotels, monasteries, ballet sets and art galleries. Notable projects include the Design Museum in London, Bastian Gallery in Berlin, the Abbey of Our Lady of Nový Dvůr in the Czech Republic, the Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York and the Jil Sander flagship store on Omotesando.
John Pawson, Spectrum, 2019, Courtesy of the artist
Photograph: Keishin Horikoshi / SS