JAPAN HOUSE LONDON ANNOUNCES FORTHCOMING EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS
Wednesday 26 January 2022: From a ground-breaking nature-inspired art and landscape project transforming the natural environment of the island of Inujima, through to the kumihimo braid-work artisans pushing the boundaries of historic craft, the forthcoming exhibitions at Japan House London in 2022-2023 explore a truly diverse range of themes.
Intended to offer a fresh perspective on Japan, the free exhibition programme shines a spotlight on master artisans, craftspeople, designers, and creatives to provide visitors with a deeper appreciation of lesser-known elements of Japanese cultures.
May 2022 – September 2022
This is an exhibition showcasing the extraordinary art project that has transformed the landscape of Inujima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. Once a flourishing hub of the copper refining and stone quarrying industry, large-scale art initiatives such as the Inujima “Art House Project” aim to inspire the ageing local community to engage with the natural environment beyond the artworks and architecture. Created by artistic director Hasegawa Yuko and architect Sejima Kazuyo, a series of galleries scattered throughout the island are constructed from recycled materials, transparent acrylic glass and aluminium, reflecting and preserving the landscape, ecology and industrial heritage of the island of Inujima.
The exhibition shines a spotlight on the project and the concept of symbiosis, the interaction between nature and architecture, each informing the other to connect the people of the island to both art and architecture via the constantly evolving environment.
Woodworking from Hida
Takayama is the largest city in the mountainous and densely forested Hida region of Gifu Prefecture in central Japan. For centuries the region has been known for the quality of its timber and highly skilled carpenters. An initiative in the beginning of the eighth century CE saw woodworking skills provided to the imperial capital in place of taxation, such was the reverence for and importance of the carpentry techniques borne in this area of Japan. It was their extraordinary skill and craftsmanship that built many of the famous shrines and temples still seen in the ancient capitals, including the temples of Yakushi-ji and Tōdai-ji in day Nara. Featuring a variety of techniques that represent the region’s diversity of craft and reflect the breadth of skill passed between generations of Hida craftsman – visitors can explore woodworking from Japan’s most innovative woodworking region.
The word kumihimo translates to the gathering of cords, braids, or strings. Braiding with cords has a long history in Japan, where they have been used as both functional and decorative embellishments for items such as obi ties (obijime ), samurai armour, and the closure for haori jackets (an overcoat worn on top of a kimono). Often overlooked as part of wider textile history, intricate weaving patterns and techniques are closely guarded and handed down through generations of makers. This exhibition brings together artists working with kumihimo weaving techniques across different fields, exploring the charms of the intricacy of braids, both old and new, and showcasing historic craft techniques brought to life from archives of ancient records. Guests are invited to explore the structural features of braids derived from mathematics and engineering research, alongside their role in contemporary fashion, art and architecture.
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Notes to Editors
About Japan House London
Japan House London is a cultural destination offering guests the opportunity to experience the best and latest from Japan. Located on London’s Kensington High Street, the experience is an authentic encounter with Japan, engaging and surprising even the most knowledgeable guests. Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology, it deepens the visitor’s appreciation of all that Japan has to offer. Part of a global initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are two other Japan Houses, one in Los Angeles and the other in São Paulo.
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