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Contemporary Japanese Crafts

The Japanese Embassy in Denmark has kindly helped to arrange a unique exhibition of contemporary Japanese crafts at Vendsyssel Museum of Art.

The exhibition, which has been organised by the Japan Foundation, is curated by Shiraishi Masami, Chief Curator at The national Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

The history of crafts in Japan is very ancient. It spans over several centuries and is filled with a variety of influences from sources such as China and Korea. These influences have been gradually absorbed and further developed, eventually resulting in works that reflect the Japanese artistic temperament. In modern times, with the rapid introduction of Western social systems and culture, Japanese crafts have not simply retained the traditional forms and decorative embellishments that had been handed down from previous generations. Instead, artists who attempt to express their own artistic temperament through their works have appeared.

The exhibition identifies six themes that are typical of contemporary Japanese crafts: Ostentation (The Use of Ostentatious Colours, Gold and Silver), Quiet Refinement (The natural Expression of the Materials), Crispness (Strong Shapes and Colours), Fine Detail (Elaborate Workmanship), Deformation (The Beauty of Unevenness), Flowers and Birds (Ornamentation based on Flower and Bird Motifs). These themes are reflected through a total of 64 works, all of which show high artistic skills and solid workmanship. Westerners and Europeans have high expectations of traditional Japanese crafts and this exhibition shows that contemporary Japanese crafts also meet these. A wide variety of materials are being used: Wood, glass, lacquer, bronze, copper, ceramic and porcelain. On many of the works you also see the use of gold and silver as ornamentation.

The exhibition has prior to its opening at Vendsyssel Museum of Art on May 3 been shown in Egypt, and it will travel on to Frankfurt afterwards. While in Denmark the exhibition is only shown at Vendsyssel Museum of Art and the museum is proud to present an exhibition that shows the richness and variety within contemporary Japanese crafts.

For further information please contact museum curator Marianne Ilkjær at or (+45) 98 96 43 27

For pictures please contact museum keeper Sine Kildeberg at or (+45) 98 92 41 33 

Imaizumi Yoshio. Bowl with design of plant and flowers in overglaze enamels, 1993

Takiguchi Kazuo. Untitled, 1995