An exhibition of Japanese craft
curated by Oji Masanori
On the evening of 8th November 2013 Objects of Use was proud to host the opening of Yukari, an exhibition of Japanese woodworking and handicraft curated by designer Oji Masanori and supported by Asahikawa Woodworking.
The work of Oji Masanori is by now very familiar to us here at Objects of Use. Recognisable for its timelessness, subtle elegance, simplicity, and most of all, its strong grounding in the processes employed by many traditional manufacturers in Japan and beyond.
A case in point is the Futagami range of products, which were developed through a process of careful observation. The Futagami foundry in Takaoka, Japan, has been casting Buddhist altarpieces in brass since 1897, but in recent times has seen a falling demand for this kind of production. A collaboration was born between the foundry and Oji Masanori, who visited the foundry and observed the processes and techniques employed. Finding a beauty in the finish of the rough, sand-cast brass surface, Masanori developed a range of modern products which capitalise on this beauty. His ability to work backwards from this point, finding simple and elegant expressions of the material, is what makes the work of this man so special.
Yukari is a Japanese word used since ancient times to mean ‘relationship’ or ‘connection’. Curator Oji Masanori talks about the themes developed within this curation of objects:
'This time, I would like to hold a series of exhibitions titled ‘Yukari’, curating handicrafts manufactured in places in Japan I have Yukari with, in the countries I have developed Yukari with. Products that are created with care are created envisioning people yet to see who will eventually pick up and use the products.
'The makers hope to relate to the users by giving them gentleness and aesthetics within the products. I would like to make use of the traditional crafting techniques that have been passed down for generations in today's products because I believe it is important to connect the past with the future beyond generations.
'A man can feel the connection between himself in the past and himself at the present moment by living a life surrounded by things that are manufactured based on the traditional techniques, fully functional, yet beautiful. He might start thinking that his children should use them as well. And, that fact will make him aware of the connection with the future, and he could live a life with deep satisfaction.
'Through the Yukari exhibitions, I would like to bridge the people and the countries to which I am personally connected. And, I am hoping that I could share with many people this substantial feeling that we are all connected.
'I would be glad if you could feel this Yukari in your own sense through the beautiful Japanese handicrafts that are manufactured with care.'
Oji Masanori, 2013
The Yukari exhibition featured many examples of artisanal Japanese craft, including hand carved, urushi-laquered furniture; wash paper lanterns; porcelain tableware; delicate mobiles; botanical vases for growing hydroponics succulents; hand-stitched share brooms; sand-cast brassware, and delicate woodware. A wonderful opportunity to view some of the many and varied crafts of this country which so highly values its own traditions of making.
The show was very well received by many interested viewers, over a long weekend installation in a dedicated space within the store. A busy opening night was helped along with the provision of a range of the very lovely Nest beers, made by a micro-brewery based in Hokkaido.
You can find out all about the objects and their makers here.