Curated and presented by The Gallery by SOIL
In collaboration with Wamono Art
Based in Japan, I have been working as a contemporary craft practitioner exploring the expression of URUSHI (Japanese lacquer) and exhibiting internationally since 1995. Throughout my career and now as a professor researching into the material, I have always been focusing on URUSHI handwork alongside hybridity with new materials and technology. Among the various methods of URUSHI craft, I have been intrigued at the possibility and capability in KANSHITSU because it can be freely shaped working with various other materials and techniques. As the famous Auguste Rodin praised KANSHITSU, the form-making method, it was quite unique, but almost died out for more than 1,300 years, except in the craft domain. The material is built up through layers of hemp fiber cloth and hardened with URUSHI for structural rigidity. During my Ph.D. research into the V&A's URUSHI collection, I came across Masaya Suzuki's works made in the 1970s, which are URUSHI on acrylic resin, and I found his hybridity with URUSHI and new materials and techniques that were not part of the craft context in the era very exciting. When I was a research fellow at an art college in the UK, I was impressed by the fact that people in craft and product design communicate with each other on the same platform. There, everyone was using digital tools as a matter of course.
These experiences naturally lead me towards digital tools.
For me, who can design using software, using a computer is no different from adjusting and tuning URUSHI tools such as brushes, spatulas and whetstones as physical tools.
Whether it is a digital process or physical one is no longer an important issue in contemporary craft expression. I really wonder who can draw a line between digital work and hand work as both methods are defined by your creativity.
Despite a strong interest in digital creativity which has huge possibilities and capability as a form finding method, I will never abandon handwork. I cannot because craftsmanship certainly exists in craft, and also does so in digital creativity.
Kenji Toki graduated in 1994 from Urushi lacquering at the Department of Crafts, Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan and obtained his master's degree in 1996. He lectured the Urushi lacquering at Kyoto City University of Arts from 1996 to 1998, he graduated from Doctoral course in 2013.
Toki exhibited his works in the galleries and museums in Japan and overseas from 1998, namely INAX Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College in Surrey, UK and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France. His art creations are collected by Kyoto Prefectural Education Center in Kyoto, Japan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK, Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, Canada and Museo de Arte Moderno La Casa de Japan in San Isidro, Argentina.
Toki is an artist who creates without the boundary between tradition and innovation. He applies Kanshitsu during his creation, a traditional method applying urushi tree sap to the structure of hemp fibers. The resulting material is then laser-cut and the parts are connected using three-dimensional software and structures developed by Toki himself.
“In Japan, urushi is understood in the context of crafts, and there is a tendency to emphasize the artistic skills of craftsmen and the artist's aesthetic sense, but I am more interested in the strength of the material image of Urushi itself. ”
自1998年起，土岐在日本及海外的美術館和博物館中展出作品，如日本東京的 INAX Gallery、英國薩里郡大學的藝術與設計學院和法國巴黎的Musée des Arts Décoratifs。他的作品被日本及海外多處收藏如日本京都的京都府教育中心、美國紐約的大都會藝術博物館、英國倫敦的V&A博物館和加拿大魁北克的加拿大歷史博物館。
Natural lacquer ,cotton
H510 x W220 x D220 mm
Natural lacquer ,cotton
H200 x W850 x D400 mm
Natural lacquer ,hemp
H110 x W250 x D200 mm
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