dawn of modern Japanese design
Kamisaka Sekka Irises, 1920-40
Kamisaka Sekka Flowers of the twelve months, 1920-25
Kamisaka Sekka/Kiyomizu Rokubei IV & Kiyomizu Rokubei V Entrée dishes in the shape of a stream, 1920
Ai Yamaguchi We have as much to talk about as this mountain is tall, 2008
Akira Isogawa Tulle strap shibori dress with iris motif, 2010
Suzuki Kiitsu Birds and flowers of the four seasons, c1855
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'the most beautiful exhibition in Sydney this year’
- John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald
Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) was one of Japan’s leading artists, designers and art instructors. His bold, visually dynamic designs and innovative approach to production made him one of the great visionaries of modern Japanese art and design.
Sekka’s paintings on scrolls and screens, drawings for lacquerware decoration, ceramics and textiles revived the decorative tradition of Rinpa – a quintessentially Japanese style originating in the early 17th century.
The exhibition explores the Rinpa tradition, with works by early masters displayed alongside Sekka’s innovative interpretations. The enduring appeal of both Sekka and the Rinpa style is revealed through a display of contemporary Japanese art, fashion and craft design, including works from artists such as Ai Yamaguchi and fashion designer Akira Isogawa.
With loans from the Hosomi Museum in Kyoto and private collections this is the first exhibition in Australia to showcase Sekka’s exquisite work and the exceptional Japanese sense for design.
An exhibition in two parts
Due to their fragile nature, not all works can be displayed for the entire period. The exhibition will close for two days while around 30 of the approximately 100 works are changed over.
For those visitors who’d like to see the full range of objects, buy a ticket to see the show between 22 June and 22 July and we’ll also give you a ticket to come again between 25 July and 26 August. All tickets are only on sale at the Gallery, not online.
Note: works are displayed in the upper Asian gallery on the ground level and the lower Asian gallery on lower level 1. It is recommended to start your visit on the lower level.
Part of the Gallery’s program Focus on contemporary 2012
IMAGES: Kamisaka Sekka (1866–1942) Irises 1920-40 (detail), one of a pair of two-fold screens: ink and colour on gold ground, 167.5 × 183 cm each, private collection, Kyoto. Kamisaka Sekka Flowers of the twelve months 1920–25, two leaves from a set of twelve album leaves, ink and colour on silk, 24.7 × 31.7 cm each, Hosomi Museum, Kyoto. Kamisaka Sekka (design)/Kiyomizu Rokubei IV (1848–1920) & Kiyomizu Rokubei V (1875–1959) (ceramics) Entrée dishes in the shape of a stream 1920, porcelain with underglaze blue enamel; stoneware with overglaze russet, silver and blue enamel, 3.6 × 10.8 × 16.6 cm each, private collection, Kyoto. Ai Yamaguchi (b1977) We have as much to talk about as this mountain is tall 2008 (detail) mixed media, 221 × 236 cm diameter, collection of the artist, courtesy of ai yamaguchi ninyu works and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California. Akira Isogawa (b1964) Tulle strap shibori dress with iris motif 2010 (detail) hand-printed silk crepe, nylon tulle, courtesy Akira Isogawa, photo Stephen Ward. Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858) Birds and flowers of the four seasons c1855 (detail) hanging scroll: ink and colour on silk, 127 × 55.4 cm, Art Gallery of NSW, purchased 1983.