Arresting works by Setsuko Ono reflect and challenge international politics

Acropolis Down Under and The Rising Moon (c) Tom Petzwinkler

Sister to Yoko, artist Setsuko Ono will exhibit her work in the UK for the first time next month. Born in Tokyo, Setsuko grew up between Japan, Europe, and the United States. She worked at the World Bank for 28 years, while pursuing a formal art education in Washington, but only began exhibiting her art once she retired in 2003.

The year of her retirement, Setsuko had her first exhibition at the Eighth Havana Biennial. Since then, she has had 14 permanent public sculptures installed in Havana, Baltimore, and at Hara Museum in Tokyo and Shinagawa, Japan.

The London exhibition – taking place at The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation – will include both sculpture and mixed media paintings, and visitors will be able to view Setsuko’s permanent installations at Hara Museum in central Tokyo, and Hara Museum ARC in Shinagawa, Japan, using virtual reality goggles.

The artist creates steel sculptures characterised by their cut-out shapes, forming opened and closed figures and designs that integrate into the outdoors. The cut-out silhouettes are bent in an animated way, while the cut out negative lets the sunlight and views of nature through.

The delicate, cut out sculptures are created from sheets of steel, which are welded by Setsuko. Inspired by meeting her musical hero John Cage as a teenager, and watching his silent performance 4’33”, Setsuko worked with little planning, detailed blueprints or preliminary drawings.

Her recent work includes mixed media paintings that reflect her interest in international politics.

Setsuko Ono’s first solo UK art exhibition takes place from 15 February - 9 March 2018 at The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. For more information, visit dajf.org.uk.

Aleppo, Pastel and collage on canvas, 76 x 101, (2016)

Aleppo, Pastel and collage on canvas, 76 x 101, (2016)

(c) Palestine, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, approx. 210 x 150 (2009) (d) Tomorrow, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas approx. 210 x 150 (2009) (e) For Eternity, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, approx. 210 x 100 (2009)

(c) Palestine, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, approx. 210 x 150 (2009) (d) Tomorrow, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas approx. 210 x 150 (2009) (e) For Eternity, Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, approx. 210 x 100 (2009)

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Victoire d’Une Defaite, 2009

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Victoire d’Une Defaite, 2009

Amaterasu, Sun Goddess, 2017, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 74 x 99

Amaterasu, Sun Goddess, 2017, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 74 x 99

Ocean, 2011, Painted steel, 4.2 x 2.5 x 2.5 m.

Ocean, 2011, Painted steel, 4.2 x 2.5 x 2.5 m.

Dreams, 2012, Stainless steel, 4.1 x 5.2 x 4.6 m

Dreams, 2012, Stainless steel, 4.1 x 5.2 x 4.6 m