Japan matters in Sydney: An exhibition of material design


23 January 2018


Bic Tieu, Small box, maki-e, 2010

Bic Tieu learnt lacquer in Japan and has applied her knowledge to create exquisite objects which reflect her journey from Vietnam to Australia. 

For a recent exhibition, Bic Tieu has looked to other designers that make objects influence by Japanese techniques and materials. Shifts in Japanese Materiality is an exhibition of contemporary works by experimental Japanese and Australian designers, curated by Tieu at Sydney’s Japan Foundation Gallery, February 2 – March 17, 2018

According to Tieu, “Japan’s artisan world remained largely unchanged for centuries by maintaining a rigid tradition that prescribes materials and creative processes. However, cross-cultural influences and dialogues have given Japan’s object-making culture a new transnational identity in contemporary experimental design.”

Other artists are:

Julie Bartholomew is known for her beautifully executed and meaningful works that combine traditional ceramics with contemporary lifestyles. 

Julie Bartholomew

Guy Keulemans is an innovative design whose Object Therapy project has been recently featured in Garland. The Japanese technique of ornamental repair, kintsugi, was a key part of this project.

Guy Keulemans

Kyoto-born Rui Kikuchi has established an important jewellery practice in Australia using recycled PET bottles. The results have an exquisite delicacy that belies their humble materials.

Rui Kikuchi, Planta

Kyoko Hashimoto also migrated to Australia. Terra Rings, her jewellery collaboration with Guy Keulemans combine raw and manufactured materials. 

Kyoko Hashimoto, Concrete ball ring

Liam Mugavin has been working in Japan recently where he has developed a distinctive technique of flame-finished and lacquered timber, which is now part of Australia House in Tokyo. You can see from this video the collaborative approach he demonstrated in the Jam Factory.

Liam Mugavin, House chairs, 2017

Yusuke Takemura‘s virtuosic glass works manage to make the invisible visible through a deft use of form.

Yusuke Takemura, Untitled, 2016, 440 x 160 x 160


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