Opening exhibition

MO.CO.Hôtel des collections

13 rue de la république, Montpellier

June 29 to September 29, 2019. 

From 12am to 10pm

Intimate distance. Masterpieces from the Ishikawa Collection

About the exhibition Intimate distance

Coinciding with the inauguration of the Hôtel des collections on June 29, the MOCO unveils the first public presentation of masterpieces from the Ishikawa Collection. This outstanding and relatively recent private collection begun in 2011 by Yasuharu Ishikawa, a Japanese entrepreneur born in 1970 at Okayama, is characterized by exceptional coherence and a Japanese feel that derives primarily from its emphasis on minimal, understated, subtle forms.

The exhibition Intimate Distance, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT), and professor at the Tokyo University of Arts, boasts nearly 30 works by international artists, such as On Kawara (Kariya, Japan, 1932 – New York, USA, 2014), Felix González-Torres (Guáimaro, Cuba, 1957 – Miami, USA, 1996), Pierre Huyghe (Paris, France, 1962), Danh Vo (Bà Ria, Vietnam, 1975), Motoyuki Shitamichi (Okayama, Japan, 1978), and Simon Fujiwara (London, Great Britain, 1982).

The sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos, and installations selected by the curator have their common roots in the conceptual heritage. All, however, spring from striking personal narratives embedded in historical and universal situations: a lover’s illness (Felix González-Torres), an ecological disaster (Pierre Huyghe), the relation between globalization and migration (Danh Vo), or the paternal relationship (Simon Fujiwara). Acts of recollection, these works conjure up shared memories and spark powerful emotions on the formal and sensory levels. Many rely on direct interaction with the visitor, often through image or sound, to create enduring sensations.

There is nothing spectacular, nothing outlandish about the works selected here; rather a constant tension between the private and the historical dimension—as evidenced by a magnificent series of twelve of On Kawara's Date Paintings, works that embody the poetic oscillation between the abstract neutrality of a date and the often violent world events associated with it.

Intimate Distance brings together works from the 1960s to the present day, centering on pieces produced after the 1990s. The selection on display includes historical figures such as Marcel Broodthaers, Lawrence Weiner, and Gerhard Richter, established artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick, and Danh Vo, and up-and-coming talents, such as Rachel Rose, Ryan Gander or Shitamichi Motoyuki. It is a unique opportunity to see mythical works like the very first light piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (March 5th) #2, from 1991, a group of videos and sculptures by Fischli & Weiss, and immersive installations by Anri Sala and Haroon Mirza.

Instead of a chronology the exhibition is conceived as a landscape to be explored in which the works resonate with formal and thematic echoes. The Hôtel des collections constitutes an ideal setting for what is a genuine museum journey. Fusing history and intimacy, topicality and sensitivity, this previously unseen collection of recent masterworks radiates an inexplicable serenity.

The catalog, with graphic direction by Sara de Bondt, includes contributions from Yuko Hasegawa, Nicolas Bourriaud, Ryoko Sekiguchi, and Ingrid Luquet-Gad, as well as an interview with the collector Yasuharu Ishikawa. It is co-published by MOCO and Silvana Editoriale.

With works by Marcel Broodthaers, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Simon Fujiwara, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Pierre Huyghe, On Kawara, Mike Kelley, Haroon Mirza, Gerhard Richter, Rachel Rose, Anri Sala, Shimabuku, Motoyuki Shitamichi, Danh Vo, Lawrence Weiner


A specially designed educational program accompanies the exhibition.


Free opening weekend, June 29 & 30, 2019

To celebrate the opening of the Hôtel des collections and its first exhibition MOCO offers two days of festivities in which to meet the works and the venue.

Schedule: performances, visits, and city tours, outreach workshops, and concerts.

Free events open to all.


Download the Tour Booklet



Yuko Hasegawa
Yuko Hasegawa is artistic director of the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT) and professor in the Department of Arts Studies and Curatorial Practices at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Considered as one of the most influential personalities in the Asian contemporary art world, she recently curated the 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art: Clouds Forests (September 2017), and has presented the exhibitions Japonorama at the Centre Pompidou Metz (October 2017) and Fukami - a plunge into Japanese aesthetics at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris (August 2018).

Yasuharu Ishikawa
Born in 1970 at Okayama, Japan, Yasuharu Ishikawa founded a clothing manufacturing and retail company at the age of 23. He is currently president and CEO of Stripe International Inc. and expanding beyond fashion to include lifestyle products and solutions, as well as e-commerce platforms. He has also focused on expanding its international profile in foreign markets, mainly in Asia. In 2011 Ishikawa started his collection of contemporary art focusing chiefly on conceptual practices. He founded the Ishikawa Foundation in 2014 and has been a member of the Tate International Council since 2017. On the occasion of the second Okayama Art Summit, to take place in autumn 2019, Ishikawa will resume the role of executive producer he has held since the first edition of the triennial. He has also engaged in other activities promoting entrepreneurship and culture in his hometown.

About the Ishikawa Foundation

The Ishikawa Foundation is located in Okayama, Japan, and is run by its president, Yasuharu Ishikawa. Established in August 2014, it was recognized by the Okayama Prefecture as an association of public interest in February 2015. The Foundation’s objective is to promote and advance art and culture, offer educational programs, and hold awards that contribute in revitalizing the local area and its communities.