Shifts in Japanese Materiality

Shifts in Japanese Materiality is an exhibition I have curated. This is the first curatorial project at this scale. I have worked with a group of amazing practitioners and design the exhibition furniture and layout of the gallery. The exhibition will be on from 2 February to 17 March 2018.

Shifts in Japanese Materiality is an exhibition of contemporary design practice which considers the changing nature of materiality in Japanese object-making culture.
The exhibition highlights the porosity of Japanese design and craft processes in a contemporary context through the work of experimental Japanese and Australian designers. From lacquerware and ceramics through to jewellery, the works will explore the changing creative practices and material landscape born out of cross-cultural dialogue and transnational influences.
By illuminating the relationships between materials, processes, training, and contemporary practice, this exhibition shares a contemporary narrative of Japanese materiality. Exhibiting designers include: 

Julie Bartholomew
has presented three pairs of Koppori(okobo) - traditional Japanese wooden sandals translated into ceramic sculptures. These objects reflect the global consumer impact on once traditional landscapes. These ideas are imprinted through the branding on the surfaces within the clay. This visual language justapose against traditional questions the effects of consumerism and changing nature to the body.

Guy Keulemans
Reinterprets the use of kinstugi, a traditional repair technique used in Japanese ceramic to articulate notions about repair and environmental concerns. His philosophical ideas of materiality and origins opens a dialogue between production and man-made resources.

Liam Mugavin 
has learnt and being highly inspired by Japanese wood joinery and Japanese sensibilities in his practice. The chairs in the exhibition are the result of a project which was initiated with the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. They are made from reclaimed timber and in essence talk about economic and material life cycles.

Kyoko Hashimoto 
has produced a beaded necklace based on a Japanese prayer necklace called NENJU. What is interesting about this work is the material language. She has cut up her children’s unwanted, broken toys and set them into concrete which she then turns and carves into beads. This cyclical rotation echoes the underlying material re-use and our understanding of material consumption.

Yusuke Takemura 
is an artist from Canberra. If you have all seen the invitation and media images. The image is of Takemura san’s work. The glass voids within the form echo his sensibilities and question his JAPANESENESS. The play of transparency, voids, hollow forms and shadows are strong interlude about his past in Japan and current home, Australia.

Rui Kikuchi 
based in Kyoto, Japan presents works made from material which once had an alternate life. She is able to transform basic materials such as Plastic bottles and nails into a wondrous schema of wearables. They look like flowers, corals and creatures in the sea and act as a reminder about of marine pollution.  

Bic Tieu
Uses Japanese lacquer in both traditional and non-traditional approaches to investigate ideas about transnational identity. Using the mapping language of graphic to explode the peony flower as a metaphor to convey these notions. The jewellery and objects thus becomes vehicles for investigating these issues.

What is beautiful about this exhibition is that as a group of various craft design and experimental practitioners have all responded to questions about handmade craft design objects and worked with materials within a transnational perspective. Other underlying themes which have occurred through this curatorial presentation are ideas about economic globalisation, sustainability and identity. Please visit the Japan Foundation website to download the eCatalogue. Here you can find more information about the Practitioner's work, Curatorial theme and Essay by Nicholas Bastin.

Curated by Bic Tieu
Presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney as part of the Sydney Design Festival and Art Month Sydney.