08 January 2007
Noguchi's cast bronze model for a proposed work entitled This Tortured Earth was intended as a statement about the effects of war. Understanding this work was created shortly after his tragic experiences (as a voluntary detainee) in a Japanese detention facility in Arizona suggests that the proposed scarring and tearing of the earth is not only intended as a kind of anti-monument (in contrast to the sorts of heroic sculpture typically done to commemorate wars), but also as a manifestation of his own internal emotional and psychological scars resulting from a host of rejections. Those rejections include one's from his estranged father, from various women, from Japanese people (Isei), from Japanese-American people (Nisei), and from America itself (his own country).
In describing his concepts for the piece, he describes it as literally being blasted into existence using the very instruments of war to create this massive earthwork.
"The idea of sculpting the earth followed me through the years, with mostly playground models as metaphor, but then there were others. This Tortured Earth was my concept for a large area to memorialize the tragedy of war. There is injury to the earth itself. The war machine, I thought, would be excellent equipment for sculpture, to bomb it into existence."
-- Isamu Noguchi.