Exhibition: Ryo Arai & ITARO – Essence Of Edo (Tokyo) ICN Gallery London
27 Oct – 19 Nov 2011 at the ICN gallery 96-98 Leonard Street; London EC2A 4RH
ICN gallery presents “Ryo Arai & ITARO – Essence of Edo – Tokyo” exhibition featuring hariko (traditional Japanese paper mâché) artist Ryo Arai and netsuke (traditional miniature carving) and wood engraving artist ITARO. Making their London debut, these masters of their craft present a contemporary twist to techniques dating back to Edo period (over 400 years ago) giving new life to a craftsmanship where few remain. This is an exhibition of Japanese sculpture and printmaking work few in the West have ever seen.
Ryo Arai’s surreal and technique-filled ‘Yokai Hariko’ series works which draw on Japanese ghost tales. He creates mysterious, vulgar, possessed, goblin-like creatures from another world which are believed to bring disaster to human society. Utilizing techniques from Edo karakuri, transom sculpture, netsuke and noh theatre mask making, his transcendent techniques make it hard for the viewer to believe that his work is actually made out of paper.
ITARO’s remarkable talent as a contemporary sculptor is recognized from the result of works, which unites his techniques, effort and talent in the design full of ingenuity, structure and form.
His exhibited sculptural works ‘the baby’ and ‘the aged’ both have screws on their backs. Based on the ‘tin toys’ that Japan produced for exportation to gain foreign currency after World War 2, they are an ironic symbol of modern Japan’s speedy economic rise. For the 2D artwork, all the engraved images have been printed onto partially transparent acrylic sheets that lets light through like Japanese lanterns.
Both artists’ attitude towards creation is to discover new things the through scrutiny of the past.
A talk by the artist Ryo Arai will be held on 28 October from 14:00–15:00. Learn more about the world of hariko and Arai’s works at this free event.
About the artists:
Ryo Arai (b.1958; Tokyo, Japan)
Arai is a rare figurative artist in Japan specializing in traditional Japanese papier-mâché, an artisan craft inherited from the traditional papier-mâché toys originally from the Edo period. Such disciplines are now under threat of extinction. As an artist he has positioned himself to extend the possibilities of paper and continues to create and express everything with this humble medium.
ITARO (b.1961; Chiba, Japan)
While mainly creating detailed carving work using netsuke carving techniques, ITARO also makes two-dimensional works under his name Itaru Yamamoto. He is creating works that utilizes the techniques of both wood engraving and netsuke carving. Collection: Kyoto Seishu Netsuke Art Museum
About ICN gallery:
ICN gallery presents works from the contemporary Japanese and Asian art scenes – from Pop Art to traditional craft with many never before shown in the UK. Reflecting the creative culture of Asia, and in particular Japan, the gallery with its adjoining café specializing in Japanese tea, delivers a new style of art space in London.
Private View: 27 October from 17:00
Opening Party: 27 October from 19:00
Gallery Talk by hariko artist Ryo Arai: 29 October 14:00–15:00 (free, preregistration recommended)