Contemplating Form: Juxtaposing Ancient, Modern and Contemporary Art

October 26, 2022 - December 17, 2022


“The collective unconscious consists of the sum of the instincts and their correlates, the archetypes. Just as everybody possesses instincts, so he also possesses a stock of archetypal images.”

– Carl Jung

Yoshii Gallery is pleased to present our upcoming exhibition Contemplating Form: Juxtaposing Ancient, Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will highlight seventeen pairs of artworks – one antique juxtaposed with one modern or contemporary artwork. The artworks included in the show will cover 4 continents and 8 different cultures.  By curating a focused selection of artworks, we aim to create a dialogue between the ancient and the modern, and to highlight the common threads and aesthetic qualities that unite artwork throughout the ages.

Carl Jung theorized that all human creation stems from a set series of archetypes. He believed that these principles are inherited, then instinctually and subconsciously applied to every aspect of our lives. It explains the repetition we find in global myths and religions; in telling stories, artists draw upon the very foundations of our collective unconscious. In early civilizations, the concept of art – and its relationship with the aesthetic – did not yet exist. Somehow still, our perception and pursuit of capturing beauty has largely remained the same.

Drawing from the collective unconscious, artists borrow the visual language of their predecessors to articulate their findings. Known for his work as a leading figure in hard-edge and color field painting, it is less commonly known that Ellsworth Kelly was a keen collector of ancient stone objects. The oldest piece in this exhibition, a blade from an ancient stone axe, was formed by the early human hand thousands of years before it met its counterpart in an Ellsworth Kelly piece. Removed from the context of its intended use, the blade’s softened form –manipulated by the natural erosion of time—has found new purpose as an art object. Its pairing with Kelly’s work further enhances the bold curvature and minimalistic philosophy that characterizes Kelly’s practice.

Together, this selection of 34 works paints a larger picture of our shared humanity. Though they cover a wide range of aesthetics, times, purposes, and forms, the artworks nonetheless come together to form a coherent cross section of our history.  Purpose and intent are visible in each and every one of the objects. In each instance, we can see the care that the maker has taken to create such a piece, elevating it from the realm of function and into the realm of the spiritual.

This exhibition will run from October 26 – December 17, 2022, and includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Mapplethorpe, Henri Matisse, and others, alongside 17 ancient works.