To celebrate the re-opening of its newly restored Design Gallery, housed within a 19th century Athenaeum theatre space, Manchester Art Gallery is presenting fashion, furniture, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery works created in Japan over the past 50 years. Initiated by pieces from Manchester’s own collection, the exhibition even reaches to contemporary pieces made by designers such as the recent Royal College of Art graduate and Issey Miyake designer, Maiko Takeda.
Takeda’s millinery, designed for Bjork’s Biophilia tour, is displayed alongside recent acquisitions from Miyake – such as his sculptural lighting made from recycled PET bottles and structured fashion pieces – alongside fashion pieces from designer Yohji Yamamoto, furniture and lighting by Masanori Umeda and Shiro Kuramata and crafts by Takahiro Yede and Yasuko Sakura.
The exhibition’s installation gives rise to many international connections: the pure white curves of Tatsuya Nakamura’s Resting Wings table, for example, displayed beside the heavy asymmetric drapery of a Comme des Garçons wedding dress. Making further comparison are pieces by British artists and makers such as Edmund de Waal, whose theory on the colour white as a sculptural form in itself can apply to much of the Japanese works on show.
The show totals over 100 pieces by 32 designers, and not only compares international modern and contemporary works but also explores spiritualism and Japanese philosophy, as well as how the traditional Japanese respect for nature and natural forces has influenced design, and in the use of new and eco-friendly materials, how this reverence continues to affect new design in Japan and worldwide.
Modern Japanese Design, until 15 January 2017, Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL.
For more, visit www.manchesterartgallery.org.
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1. Takahiro Yede. Hibiki (Echoes), 2015.