Nobuo Sekine was born in Saitama, Japan, in 1942. After training in painting at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, he entered the art world in 1968 as a member of the Mono-ha group, the Japanese art movement that, in the 1960s and 70s, explored the characteristics of organic and industrial materials and their relationship with space. His sculpture Phase Mother Earth (1968), made of a cylinder of earth 2.2 metres in height, which he placed next to a hole of the same dimensions dug into the ground, is usually considered the manifesto pieces of the Mono-ha movement. Nobuo Sekine examines the relationship between art and architecture: in 1973, after a period in Europe, he returned to Japan and founded the Environmental Art Studios, a public art agency. In 1970, Sekine represented Japan at the Venice Biennale with Phase of Nothingness, which consists of an enormous natural stone held by a mirrored stainless steel column, and is today part of the permanent collection at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.
Recent exhibitions dedicated to his work include those held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2014), Kamakura Gallery, Japan (2011) and Shanghai Sculpture Space, Shanghai (2011). Nobuo Sekine was one of the artists included in “Prima Materia” (2013-15) at Punta della Dogana.