URUSHI_ISM II. Contemporary Japanese Lacquer

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Contemporary Japanese Lacquer

06/11/2018 - 23/11/2018
Hiroshi Kaneyasu Dynamics of Layered Colors III urushi lacquer, plaster 32 x 32 x 52 cm
Natsuki Kurimoto The Spirit of Tree urushi lacquer, hemp cloth 2015 26 x 80 x 5 cm
Natsuki Kurimoto The Spirit of Water urushi lacquer, hemp cloth 2015 66 x 22 x 5 cm
Fumie Sasai Peach 2 urushi lacquer, hemp cloth 2010 9 x 12 x 10 cm
Takeshi Igawa Wings of Waves IV urushi lacquer, palm, wood 2016 46 x 56 x 35 cm
Takeshi Igawa Flow I (detail) urushi (lacquer), plywood 2014 110 x 78 cm
Hanako Gejo Sign of Rainbow II urushi lacquer, hemp cloth, silver powder, silver leaf 2017 24 x 37 x 28 cm
Hanako Gejo Bloomed Moon urushi lacquer, hemp cloth, silver powder, silver leaf 2014 28 x 28 x 36 cm
Hiroshi Kaneyasu Dynamics of layered colors III urushi lacquer, plaster 23 x 28 x 42 cm
Mine Tanigawa Sketch 07 urushi lacquer, polymer 2018 14 x 26 x 15 cm
Yoshihiko Murata Silhouette - Flying up urushi lacquer, maple wood 17 x 18 x 7 cm
Allestimento mostra Urushism 2, opere di Sakurako Matsushima
Allestimento mostra Urushism 2, opere di Sakurako Matsushima

Opening hours

7th November – 23rd November 2018

From November 7th to 16th: 10.30 am – 6.30 pm (Sunday closed)
From November 19th to 23rd: 10.30 am – 2.30 pm (after 2.30 pm by appointment only)


ESH Gallery is pleased to present the second edition of URUSHI_ISM. Contemporary Japanese Lacquer, an exhibition designed to celebrate one of the oldest traditional and refined techniques in the contemporary art from Japan.

The exhibition presents the works of a group of masters and young artists in a path that can illustrate the art of urushi lacquer, natural resin produced by the Japanese plant, which stands out for the brilliance and elegance it gives to objects that it covers.

The appreciation for this ancient technique shown through the centuries by the Eastern world, is with any doubt due to the simplicity, elegance and balanced beauty. These characteristics make the lacquered works the expression for the typical Japanese spirituality, and one of the most specific representation of the Japanese aesthetic.

It is required a deep interior strength for following the long process of a lacquered artwork: the execution of many layers on the shape that the artist wants to cover, the waiting process during the drying moment, the caring through the polish and the decoration phases.

The nature is for the majority of the artists the real inspirational subject. Nature is declined in multiple shapes and spiritual meanings indeed. This exhibition is a chance to experience the world of the contemporary Urushi lacquer, its aesthetic and the tradition that is revisited through the XXI century’s taste and experiences.

The lightweight sculptures of Yoshihiko MURATA are inspired by the nature: anthropomorphic shapes are twisting in the space as driven by the melody of a musical instrument.

Natsuki KURIMOTO uses different materials at the same time. His works – made by Japanese paper and lacquer – are based on a wood or metal basis and often are large in scale. His works remind rocks and mountains shape. Sometimes his works have African suggestions, fact that is almost unconventional for a Japanese artist.

Fumie SASAI is inspired by the metamorphosis concept. Her works are made by simple shapes, reminding flowers, animals and fruit. Her art is characterized by soft lines, that aroused primordial feelings. For the first time Esh Gallery shows her new artworks made with some bamboo elements, in collaboration with the master Tanabe Shouchiku.

Sakurako MATSUSHIMA takes the inspiration from the jewel world and the body ornamentation. Her sculptures are characterized by sinuous lines and curvilinear development. Her amazing wall- artworks are embellished by shell elements and gold powder, amplifing the brilliance of Urushi lacquer. The artist prefers the Kanshitsutechnique, which consists in applying some lacquer on fabric: this is why the sculputers can be modeld on every kind of shape, furnishing the spaces with elegance and lightness.

Another artist of URISHI_ISM II is Hanako GEJO, wife of the award-winning Takeshi IGAWA.
Her artworks are attractive for the chromatic choices, mixed with gold powder and leaf, giving more brilliance to urushi lacquer.

The aesthetic research with urushi lacquer is the aim of the young artist Mine TANIGAWA.
Ex student of the master Kurimoto, the artist is focused on making little sculptures made with urushi lacquer, inspired by informal research. The vivid chromatic choice and no restriction from formal choices are the reasons why the artworks are similar to sketches, made by automatic and abstract acts.

Hiroshi KANEYASU’s artworks allowed the viewer in catching the inherent qualities of urushi. From many years the artist is interested in the old colors theories. He is focused on researching visual perception, but above all he is engaged in researching the tactile aspect of the colors and materials.