“Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics” Exhibition

Japan Society Gallery

poster for “Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics” Exhibition

This event has ended.

Boro (“rags” or “tatters”) are patchwork textiles hand-pieced by peasants in Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The inability to cultivate cotton in the northern climate of Tohoku necessitated the practice of stitching remnants of used fabric into utilitarian items, including blankets, coats and mittens. These hard-used garments – reworked over generations – express essential principles of Japanese ethics and aesthetics, such as an appreciation for distinguished imperfections and the avoidance of waste.

For the first time in the U.S., this exhibition assembles over 50 archival pieces from the personal collection of folklorist and cultural anthropologist Chuzaburo Tanaka (1933–2016) presented alongside new portraits by editor-photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, designs by pioneers of Japanese avant-garde fashion Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, and textile-based works by Susan Cianciolo and Christina Kim – part of a generation of contemporary artists influenced by the aesthetics and ethics of mending, patchwork, and re-use. The installation, designed by New York architecture firm SO–IL, rediscovers this traditional handicraft, its history of survival and ingenuity, and its continued legacy within creative practices today.

Kyoichi Tsuzuki: The Beauty of Survival
Saturday, March 7, 2pm

Kyoichi Tsuzuki is an editor and photographer whose photo-reportage Tokyo Style, first published in 1997, proposed a full immersion into the private lives of the Japanese through photographs and texts. His works, while eloquently commenting on living conditions of ordinary people, do not reflect the distant gaze of a sociologist analyzing the world. Rather, Tsuzuki’s seemingly banal photographs of everyday environments uncover the hidden value and beauty of textiles born out of necessity for survival in Tohoku. In this talk, Tsuzuki will address his fascination with boro textiles, a traditional handicraft with an enduring impact. This lecture is organized in coordination with the exhibition Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics, which opens on March 6.



from March 06, 2020 to June 14, 2020

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