Japan House London, 2019
Photography: Jérémie Souteyrat
An exhibition showcasing the culture of traditional Japanese colors
The venue originally had many pillars, which we added to and created a forest of color.
We were in charge of the art direction and design for the exhibition Living Colours: Kasane—The Language of Japanese Colour Combinations (Kasane no mori: Somenotsukasa Yoshioka) at Japan House London. The exhibition was held to demonstrate the Japanese color culture of kasane through the plant-dyeing techniques and works of the dyeing studio Somenotsukasa Yoshioka in Kyoto. Kasane refers to the combination of colors created by layering garments, and is specifically used to describe the color scheme of the twelve-layered formal court kimono worn by in the classical era. Overlapping color combinations were displayed on the collar, cuffs, and hem to reflect the blooming flowers, flourishing trees, and seasonal landscapes. The concept was used not only for clothing, but also for furniture and washi writing paper. This color culture was used in courtship as well. Aristocratic men observed the kasane of the twelve-layer kimono worn by noble women whom they were interested in, and sent love letters decorated with words associated with seasonal kasane. Hence, the design concept decided upon for the space was Kasane no mori (forest of kasane), and the colors associated with each of the four seasons were arranged in the cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. A total of 115 rolls, in sets of three- to five-types of kimono fabric, were hung from pillars to resemble trees, creating a forest-like space. Several pillars were added to the original ones in the venue to present the space. We tried to create a space to collect and organize materials, as well as a space appreciated as a work of art, so a wide range of people would become interested in kasane.
Dates: April 5–May 19, 2019 / Venue: Japan House London (London, UK) / Cooperation: Yoshioka Dyeing Workshop / Art Direction & Design: Spread More