Japanese Contemporary Crafts Exhibition



July 6 – October 13, 2012
The Japan Foundation, Toronto
131 Bloor Street West, 2nd floor of the Colonnade

Admission: Free www.jftor.org/whatson/index.php 416.966.1600 X229
Gallery Hours:Monday11:30 am – 7 pmextended hours
Tuesday11:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wednesday11:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday11:30 am – 7 pmextended hours
Friday11:30 am – 4:30 pm
Select Saturdaysnoon – 5 pmJuly 21, August 11 & 25, September 8 & 22, October 13

CLOSED: other Saturdays & Sundays, August 6 (Civic Holiday), September 3 (Labour Day), October 8 (Thanksgiving)

The history of Japanese crafts can be traced back to ancient times and is filled with a variety of influences from sources such as China and Korea. These influences have been gradually absorbed and further developed, eventually resulting in works that reflect the Japanese artistic temperament. In modern times, with the rapid introduction of Western social systems and culture, Japanese crafts have not simply retained the traditional forms and decorative embellishments that had been handed down from previous generations. Instead, artists who attempt to express their own artistic temperament through their work have appeared.

These artists have demanded a variety of footholds on which to anchor their own creativity. Some make a traditional artistic view the basis for their own work. Some incorporate artistic ideas from Europe and the United States, such as Art Deco or Constructivism, into their creations. Some intend their creations to be used as part of our everyday life, and they therefore emphasize practical functionality while infusing their work with creativity. Others, taking an avant-garde stance, seek to express new artistic concepts in concrete form in their work. And others attempt to re-examine the meaning of the materials themselves.

Just as the values of the Japanese people became more diverse following World War II, crafts also developed in ever more complex ways and branched out in many directions; so much so that it is now considered impossible to state what the salient characteristics or common attributes of Japanese crafts are. However, even though contemporary Japanese crafts may appear to be completely disparate, it is possible to identify several common themes. Therefore it is these common themes that indicate the state of contemporary Japanese crafts.

This exhibition consists of 64 pieces in six sections revealing examples of the characteristics of Japanese contemporary crafts: Ostentation (Use of outstanding colours, and gold & silver), Wabi (Quiet refinement, natural expression of the materials), Crispness (Strong forms and captivating colours), Fine Detail (Elaborate workmanship), Deformation (Beauty of unevenness), Kacho (Flowers and birds, Traditional ornamental motifs).