The pursuit of perfection is a hallmark of Japanese craftsmanship. However, every master from the Far East knows – and by now, that includes numerous master craftswomen – perfection necessarily remains an unattainable goal. Hence the title Unvollkommen vollkommen (imperfectly perfect) of the exhibition at Eva Maisch’s of ten Japanese designers and manufactures. Characteristic of them all is their formal certitude, which often goes hand in hand with a simple clarity. The expression of perfection, which is enhanced the more reduced the works appear, is the result of relentless, often life-long immersion in a subject. It is not rare for knowledge to be handed down from generation to generation. Another aspect turns the show of jewelry, vessels, lacquer and textile art into a cultural experience: on the one hand we see works that, as is customary in Japan, shaped by unique, specifically regional characteristics, such as the ceramics of Daikura from Bizen or the wooden vessels by Yamaichi with their Urushi lacquer from Kiso. On the other hand we find a number of artists who, by studying in Europe, have combined Western experiences with Japanese thought, such as the jewelry artists Mari Ishikawa, Jiro Kamata, Akiko Kurihara, Kazuko Nishibayashi and Mirei Takeuchi. The designer of Suzusan, Hiroyuki Murase, translates the technique of dyeing by binding, sewing or folding off parts of fabric, into product lines in keeping with our times. In a similar manner Kazumi Nagano takes up traditional textile techniques in her jewelry, creating pieces of extraordinary artistic quality. Koichi Io, in turn, expertly imbues the grand tradition of Japanese smithery with new life. Altogether, the exhibition is evidence of the current shift in Japanese artisanship that is being fertilized by contemporary ideas in design as well as encounters of East and West.
Eva Maisch Schmuck