Mono-Ha is a Japanese postwar art movement that flourished in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The name is derived from the Japanese phrase "school of things," which refers to the movement's focus on the materiality of objects, and the relationships between them. Mono-Ha artists were interested in the physicality of their materials, and the dialogue between them, rather than the traditional focus on the artist's creative expression.
The movement was led by Lee Ufan, an artist and philosopher who sought to challenge the Western concept of art as an autonomous, self-contained entity. Instead, he argued for an art that was engaged with the world, and the materials and processes of its making. He argued that the physicality of any object could be seen as a "thing-in-itself," and that its meaning could be found in the relationship between it and other objects. This was a radical departure from the traditional view of art as a representation of an idea or emotion.
The Mono-Ha movement was also heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, which was a major part of Japanese culture at the time. Zen Buddhism emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things, and Mono-Ha artists sought to express this idea in their works. They often used objects that were found in nature, such as rocks, wood, and water, and arranged them in a way that suggested a relationship between them, without explicitly stating what that relationship was.
Mono-Ha artworks often had a minimalistic quality, and usually consisted of only a few elements. The works could be seen as a kind of visual poetry, in which the relationships between the objects conveyed a meaning that went beyond the literal. For example, Lee Ufan's Open Form from 1968 consists of three large stone slabs placed in a triangular formation. The arrangement of the stones suggests a kind of harmony, or balance, between them.
Mono-Ha also had a strong influence on other art movements, such as Minimalism, which emerged in the United States in the 1960s. Minimalist artists such as Donald Judd and Carl Andre had a similar interest in the physicality of objects, and sought to create works that explored the relationship between them. Mono-Ha also had an influence on the Conceptual Art movement, which emerged in the 1970s. Conceptual artists used language and ideas to express their ideas, instead of relying on traditional art materials.
Mono-Ha was an important movement in the history of art, and its influence can still be seen today in many contemporary artworks. Its focus on physicality, materiality, and relationships between objects opened up a new way of thinking about art, and challenged the traditional view of art as a representation of an idea or emotion. Mono-Ha was also an important influence on other art movements, and its legacy continues to shape the way we think about art today.