Lesley Kehoe Galleries Online
HISTORICALLY & CULTURALLY
The aesthetic of yō no bi 用の美, the beauty of function, was so embedded in the Japanese way of life that it wasn't until Japan opened its doors to the West that a word emerged to signify the distinction Western European art scholars impose(d) between fine/non-functional and decorative/applied art - ‘bijutsu 美術'.
Miniature Shibayama two-fold screen
Design of cherry blossom viewing
Meji period Nineteenth Century
What Western art historians and cultural interpreters of the 19th century failed to understand is that everyday experiences, spaces and objects are suffused with mutually constitutive functionality, artistry and beauty. The truly foreign idea of 'art for art's sake' held no currency.
Where ‘painting on a canvas’ tended to be given superior status in the West; equivalent if not transcendant, artistry has always been found on functional objects such as folding screens, sliding doors, and vertical hanging scrolls in Japan.
In lieu of canvas, washi is applied in multiple layers over a wooden frame. Gold and silver foil squares are applied and these form the base for the artist’s composition.
Six Scenes from The Tale Of Genji Tosa School 1700-1750 (One of a pair)
Art Gallery of NSW Collection
Red-crested Cranes Kano School 18th - Early 19th Century (One of a pair)
National Gallery of Australia Collection
Room of the Saiō (Ise priest) at Saikū, late Heian period
Saikū Historical Museum
Nijo Castle (二条 城, Nijōjō)
Primary residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu
First shogun of the Edo period.
Inside the meticulously restored Jōrakuden (shogun’s quarters) Honmaru palace Nagoya castle, with the Lord's audience chamber Jōdan-no-ma, in the background.
This ancient art form has been revived, transcended and transformed at the hands of contemporary screen artist Maio Motoko.
Maio’s works are double-sided installations that explore the yin and yang in materials and design, and bring together the traditional form with the dynamics of the contemporary world.
Maio Motoko | Master Work
刻々脈々 kyoku kyoko myaku myaku
Moment by moment heartbeat by heartbeat
Reinventing the double-sided hinges of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the sizes of the folds of Maio's screens are varied thus creating maximum flexibility in spatial formations.
This innovation and contemporary interpretation elevates the form beyond beautiful and functional, to contemporary sculptural/installation art.
View On A Wall
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