Exhibition Overview

Minimalism was a radical turning point in the history of art. Emerging in the 1960s, it changed how we experience the art object, making the physical encounter with the artwork and its surrounding space increasingly important. It has had a profound influence not only on visual art, but also on music, performance, fashion, architecture and design.


Space. Light. Object. looks at the development and legacies of Minimalism from the 1950s to the present day, not only in the United States but also in Asia, Australia and Europe. It features works by over 70 leading artists that explore ideas of presence and absence, many informed by Asian philosophies such as Zen Buddhism.

Discover how Minimalism's reconception of the relationship between object, space and the viewer are fundamental to our understanding of art today.

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism commonly refers to an artistic tendency that came to prominence in 1960s New York. It is characterised by geometric forms which are often repeated in series, as well as by its use of industrial processes and materials.

Distilling art

By paring artworks down to their most essential elements, Minimalist artists intended to strip away individual expression and artistic decision-making and create a direct, unmediated encounter between the viewer and the art object in a specific space and time.

Beyond the frame

This new approach to art opened a wide range of possibilities for the art that followed, which extended the experience of art beyond the work itself to include its environmental, social and political contexts. This has left a profound legacy which still resonates throughout contemporary art.

A radical turning point

Minimalism is also hailed for its significant impact on music, performance, design, fashion and lifestyle. Its influence continued to grow, reinforced by major exhibitions in New York and elsewhere. Similar tendencies arose concurrently around the world too, independently or in dialogue with American artists, such as Mono-ha in Japan. These have received increasing attention in recent years, spurred by the wider appreciation of global modern art, extending the established narrative of Minimalism beyond the United States.

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