The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to announce the second installment of exhibition “Going Beyond and Participating in Beauty: Shinzo Fukuhara’s Aesthetics Shinzo Fukuhara/ASSEMBLE, THE EUGENE Studio,” which has been on display since Friday, October 19, 2018. The second exhibition, titled “Granby Workshop: The Rules of Production, Art Changes the Everyday—Shinzo Fukuhara’s Aesthetics Shinzo Fukuhara/ASSEMBLE, THE EUGENE Studio II,” will be held from Wednesday, January 16 to Sunday, March 17, 2019 with the theme of Art Changes the Everyday.
In the first exhibition, through the participation of THE EUGENE Studio, we created a gallery space or platform featuring Shinzo Fukuhara, the first president of Shiseido, who went beyond the boundaries of business leader and photographer to proactively involve himself in social creation activities and to enable contemporary audiences to share encounters and various new values on which he put emphasis. Meanwhile, in the second exhibition, members of ASSEMBLE, a U.K.-based architect collective that engages in contemporary social creation activities and new modes in the fields of art, design, and architecture, will showcase its Granby Workshop*, which is operated in cooperation with local residents of Liverpool, here in Japan at the Shiseido Gallery.
Shinzo Fukuhara led Shiseido by placing value on art and design, aiming to make the entire product creation process uniformly beautiful all the way until delivery to and use by customers. At the same time, he tried to communicate how people incorporate beauty into their everyday lives through art by popularizing photography, which was still a burgeoning artistic medium. By participating in this exhibition, ASSEMBLE expresses its empathy with Fukuhara’s aesthetic philosophy of pursuing beauty and creativity in society and daily life, upholding the theme of Art Changes the Everyday.
In showcasing its Granby Workshop at the Shiseido Gallery, ASSEMBLE acknowledges traditional Japanese crafts as a part of people’s lives and an element that incorporates beauty and the everyday. They conducted research into Japanese pottery art and paid attention to the individuality that soil brings to earthenware, and discovered, through consultation with Japanese potters, that soil generated over long periods on particular land types and with particular features give rise to the individuality of earthenware. In this exhibition, ASSEMBLE will incorporate this traditional Japanese process of pottery art into its Granby Workshop and provide an in-depth look at one type of Japanese soil (mashiko), then produce earthenware for daily use by applying a modern technique called “slip casting.”
His integration of Japanese pottery art into ASSEMBLE’s workshop is a historic episode, which, in fact, is associated with the Shiseido Gallerythrough a century-old collaboration between Japanese potter Shoji Hamada and British counterpart, Bernard Leach. Hamada, who was involved in the Mingei movement with figures such as Muneyoshi Yanagi and Kenkichi Tomimoto, moved to the U.K. with Bernard Leach, who was returning to Britain from Japan in 1920, and they built a traditional Japanese climbing kiln in St. Ives in Cornwall and carried out activities together. (Hamada later began creating earthenware in Mashiko-machi, Tochigi Prefecture, upon returning to Japan.) During the same period, the Shiseido Gallery organized a solo exhibition by potter Kenkichi Tomimoto through the offices of Bernard Leach, who enjoyed a friendship with Fukuhara. Thereafter, Tomimoto continued his collaborative relationship with Shiseido by producing pottery art mementos and gifting them to the company’s customers.
In this exhibition, ASSEMBLE, partly inspired by the episode a century ago, will feature pottery created in the workshop at the Shiseido Gallery through collaboration with Japanese pottery artists to bring them to completion. We are hoping that the workshop in Japan, achieved through an encounter and collaboration spanning time and space, will provide an invaluable opportunity to introduce ASSEMBLE’s activities and appeals to encourage the creation of today’s social values.
*The Granby Workshop is a long-term collaborative relationship between the people of Granby Four Streets in Liverpool and ASSEMBLE, working on an urban regenerative project approach toward social issues; particularly, the city dereliction that the regional community faces, from an artistic perspective. It presents a whole new model that beautifies and stimulates the lives of its residents. Their activities were recognized and awarded the 2015 Turner Prize.