Past Exhibition

Sei no Motode — lifescape

Sei no Motode - lifescape
September 5th (fri) - October 12th (sun), 2014
Shiseido was founded in 1872 as Japan's first Western-style pharmacy. The name of the company came from a phrase, “banbutsu shisei,” in the “Yi Jing”(the Chinese Book of Changes), which describes “all things emerging through the creative blessing of the great Earth.” Many important Shiseido design elements (the camellia blossom in the company trademark*1, for example, and the use of rich arabesque motifs*2) represent concrete visualizations of this creative spirit, icons expressive of the vitality of growing plants that shoot forth new life in cycle with the changing seasons.

The Shiseido-hosted exhibition Sei no Motode — lifescape is an attempt to express the creative worldview of banbutsu shisei. While it is not uncommon for art exhibitions (including many at the Shiseido Gallery) to focus on specific themes, this exhibition was conceived with the idea of working with a theme reflective specifically of Shiseido's own corporate ideals. Sei no motode — lifescape will be curated by Suda Yoshihiro, a contemporary artist known for his delicate, extraordinarily lifelike woodcarvings of flowers and other plants. Other participating artists will include sculptor Christiane Löhr, textile artisans Shimura Fukumi and her daughter Shimura Yōko, ikebana (flower arrangement) master Shuhō, and contemporary artist Miyajima Tatsuo. Each of these has been selected for his or her artistic capacity to express the nobility and sacredness of life through superlative sensitivity and technique.

Artist Christiane Löhr, who lives in Germany and Italy, uses dried plants as her main medium to create her sculptural works. In such pieces she attempts to understand rules of life by observing the behavior and emergence of plants. While most of her works are quite small, they seem to crystalize the life force within plants, and still emanate a sense of almost divine presence.

Japanese “living national treasure” Shimura Fukumi and her daughter Yōko are textile artisans who work in traditional vegetable-dyeing and weaving techniques. For this exhibition they will present not their usual beautifully dyed kimono fabrics, but rather the beauty of the fibers themselves, each thread “colored in the life of plants.” This dynamic installation was suggested by curator Suda, and it will be the first time for the Shimuras to present their work in such a format.

Shuhō is the ikebana master at Kyoto's Ginkakuji (Jishōji) Temple. For this exhibition she presents a video record of her work creating floral arrangements within that famous landmark temple. The dignified shapes of her arrangements are clearly a manifestation of her earnest attempt to “listen to the voices of the flowers.” Shuhō's video will also include scenes of Tōgūdō Hall, a structure considered to be a Japanese national architectural treasure.

While the aforementioned artists all take flowers and plants as their materials or motifs, Miyajima Tatsuo is completely different, internationally known for works composed of LED-based digital counters. Of these he says, “Keep going.Connect with all.Gose on forever” Though this consistent production concept, Miyajima's work expresses the preciousness of life continually recreated and reborn, and the same is true of this new installation for this exhibition, which he has designed to match the gallery's unique space.

Curator Suda has also selected an assortment of Shiseido product packages, advertisements, and other artifacts that represent important elements of the company's design efforts (camellia blossoms, arabesques, etc.), and these will be displayed interspersed among the other art works. And course, a few of Suda's own sculptures will also be found, somewhere, in the galleries.

With Sei no Motode — lifescape, the Shiseido Gallery offers a gathering of diverse personalities and distinctive worldviews to explore the world of banbutsu shisei from numerous perspectives. With Suda taking his first curatorial role and the Shimuras presenting their first installation-style work, this exhibition breaks new ground on several fronts, and we welcome all to come have a look!

Shiseido's camellia blossom logo Shiseido arabesque motif on wrapping paper

Exhibitor Profiles & Works

Suda Yoshihiro Born in 1969 in Yamanashi. Studied graphic design at Tama Art University. Since his first solo exhibition in 1993, both at home and abroad he has been developing a unique installation style involving carving highly realistic, very finely detailed wooden representations of flowers and plants and secreting these in locations not exposed to direct public view. Major works in public collections include: Kore wa nomimizu ni arazu (This is not drinking water) (Hara Museum of Contemporary Art), Tulips (National Museum of Art, Osaka), and Roses (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa).
Christiane Löhr Born in 1965 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Finished her studies of Fine Arts at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf with Jannis Kounellis in 1996 as “Master student”. Even during her early years in the Art Academy, Löhr was garnering attention for sculptures created utilizing natural materials like plants and horsehair. Major works in public collections include: Seed Bag (Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka), Artist Books Granai and Nichts von dem was ich gesehen habe, Untitled Pencil Drawings (Bonn Art Museum, Germany), Little Tower, Little Hair Chalice, Permeable Form amongst others (Panza Collection, Varese, Italy). Löhr is currently planning a solo exhibition at the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum in 2015.
Shimura Fukumi Born in 1924 in Shiga, Japan. Began dedicating herself to textiles starting around age thirty, studying under artisans like Kuroda Tatsuaki and Tomimoto Kenkichi. Moved to Sagano in Kyoto in 1968. In 1990 Shimura was accorded the status of “Intangible Cultural Treasure Keeper” (“living national treasure”), and in 1993 she was recognized by the Japanese government as a “Person of Cultural Merit.” She is also a skilled writer and has earned numerous awards for her literary efforts, among them the Osaragi Jirō Prize, the Nihon Essayist Club Prize, and most recently in 2014, the Kyoto Prize.
Shimura Yōko Born in 1949 in Tokyo, the daughter of Shimura Fukumi. At age thirty-two she decided to follow in her mother's footsteps and enter the world of textile dyeing and weaving. In 1989, she founded the Tsuki Workshop, a venue for cultural exploration through the medium of textiles. She is also committed, along with her mother Fukumi, to cultivating the next generation of textile artisans, and in 2013 she opened Ars Shimura, a place for spiritual training through the practice of textile weaving and dyeing.
Shuhō Born in 1967 in Kobe. Head of the ikebana program at Ginkakuji (Jishōji) Temple since 2004. In 2008, Shuhō founded the Jishō Temple International Exchange Program, which annually conducts seminars in Paris, Hong Kong, and elsewhere around the world in a wide range of disciplines, from Zen Buddhism to traditional arts like tea ceremony, flower arranging, and incense appreciation. She has also been invited to places like Mexico, Monaco, and the United States (Portland, Oregon). In 2011, along with opening of the Jishō Temple Training Dojo, she also became the dojo's master flower teacher. In October 2013 she published Wonders of Nature—The Flowers of Ginkaku Jishōji Temple, and in September 2014 she will pair with the Cernuschi Museum in Paris to publish a book of flower arrangements done in copper vessels from the museum's collection.
Miyajima Tatsuo Born in 1957 in Tokyo. Completed undergraduate and postgaduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1986. Miyajima began working with LED-based artistic compositions in 1987, and has been exhibiting his work internationally ever since. In 1995 he began the Revive Time — Persimmon Tree Project, an art event project involving the planting of nursery stocks derived from a persimmon tree that miraculously survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Miyajima currently serves as Vice President of Tōhoku University of Art and Design, and also as the head of that institution's Design Engineering department. Works in major public collections include: Counter Void (TV Asahi, Roppongi, Tokyo), Keep Change, Connect with Everything, Continue Forever (Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo), and Kadoya (Corner House) (Benesse Art Site Naoshima, Kagawa).

■Reference Photos

  • Suda Yoshihiro, Camellia, 2003
    Painted wood
    Shiseido Art House collection
    Photo by Sakurai Tadahisa
  • Christiane Löhr, Small Vault, 2013
    plant stalks, 14×13×12 cm
  • Shimura Fukumi & Shimura Yōko
    Dyed textile fibers, 2014
  • Shuhō at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris, 2013
    Photo by Miyamoto Toshiaki
  • Miyajima Tatsuo, Changing Time with Changing Self No.25-W, 2002
    LED, IC, electric wire, mirror, stainless steel, etc.
    264×264×5 cm
    Kirishima Open-Air Museum collection
    Photo by Kioku Keizō

Sei no Motode — lifescape” Exhibition Details

Organized by Shiseido Co., Ltd.
Duration: September 5th (Fri) to October 12th (Sun), 2014
Location: Shiseido Gallery
Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, B1, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel:03-3572-3901; Fax:03-3572-3951
Hours: Weekdays 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Sundays and holidays 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed Mondays (including holidays falling on Monday)
Admission is free

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