Du mercredi 22 juin 2016 au vendredi 05 août 2016

This summer Dutko Gallery will present Encounters, a vibrant panorama of Japanese art and decorative arts from the 1930s to today.
For several centuries Japan has influenced the west, creating an important cultural bridge between East and West. Exploring this artistic exchange and the influences brought to Europe and beyond, this exhibition brings together exquisite examples of Japanese artistry and craftsmanship, from the extraordinary lacquer technique of Art Deco artist Katsu Hamanaka and austere woodwork of modernist George Nakashima, to the abstract monochrome paintings of contemporary artist Takesada Matsutani and playful sculptures of Koike Shoko, one of Japan’s most celebrated female ceramicists.
Central to this exhibition is the work of Katsu Hamanaka who, in 1924, emigrated to Paris where he created some of the rarest Art Deco masterpieces of the time. Hamanaka’s known creations are very limited and exceptional in their use of Japanese lacquer techniques which he, together with artists Jean Dunand and Eileen Gray, was taught by master lacquerer Seizo Sugawara. Examples on display include a magnificent 1930s sofa with flared black lacquered sides and sheathed in dyed black rubbed sharkskin, alongside a glorious three-paneled gold leaf and black lacquered screen (c 1928). Of similar gravitas is the work of George Nakashima whose crafted walnut R Bench from 1978 demonstrates why he became known as one of the leading innovators of 20th century furniture design and a father of the American Craft movement.
More contemporary works reveal how modern day Japanese artists fuse traditional techniques with radical exploration. One such designer is Masayoshi Nakajo whose whimsical ‘walking cat’ side table (2015) is an example of the traditional Kawatsura lacquerware dating back to 1200. The large-scale monochrome paintings by Paris-based Takesada Matsutani who shot to fame as part of the second generation Gutai group (1962-1972) are evidence of the expressive abstract painting first introduced in post-war Japan. As one of only a dozen others to use the ancient Uteki Tenmoku ‘drop of oil’ technique, master ceramicist Haruhiko Kaneko creates a rare luster and glaze in his elaborate sea inspired bowl and vase designs, while artist Hitomi Uchikura’s extensive exploration of light through concave and convexed sculptural installations is showcased in one of her latest embossed paper works, Lumière (2016).
Important sculptors and ceramic artists include: renowned female ceramicist Shoko Koike with her immortalized flowers made from pure white sandstone, sculptor Setsuko Nagasawa whose encounter with American artists heavily influenced her free technique, continuously examining abstract fields of tension, and Chieko Katsumata whose pumpkin like Akoda (2016) illustrates her natural world inspiration and the use of brushes, metallic dyes and pigments to create sculptural masterpieces.
In this digital, accelerated and sometimes dehumanized age, Japanese artists testify to a rare poetic philosophy and aesthetic, combining beauty and elegance in both functional design and decorative displays. This exhibition reveals their enduring influence in the west and continued desire to reinvent and offer new perspectives.

Haruhiko KANEKO, ,