I have always associated the Eskenazi Gallery in London’s Mayfair with Chinese antiques, so it was a bit of a surprise when I learned that it was holding an exhibition of Japanese contemporary bamboo art.
Eight outstanding Japanese bamboo artists are represented here: Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, Honda Shoryu, Ueno Masao, Honma Kazuaki, Morigami Jin, Yonezawa Jiro, Yufu Shohaku, and Mimura Chikuho.
I particularly loved Morigami Jin’s exquisite undulating openwork paired/twined pieces.
His triaxial weave anthropomorphic piece was also fascinating, given that I am currently wrestling with my own hexagonal weave piece for my final assessment.
Honda Shoryu’s pieces also explored geometry in a very organic way.
Talking of geometry, Ueno Masao’s work reminded me of the experiments I have done with Mobius strips and made me want to revisit those.
Mimura Chikuho’s Wind Pattern did indeed evoke the ripples of wind across a wheat field.
Yonezawa Jiro’s pieces explored random weave with bamboo in different widths, often combined with rattan and painted with lacquer.
Yufu Shohaku’s freeform pieces added even more texture with bamboo cordage and weaving with multiple strips.
Finally, the great Tanabe Chikuunsai IV worked with Sawako Kaijima to create extremely complex architectural forms in bamboo. Apparently these are designed on a computer and formed around moulds.
Contemporary Bamboo: Masters from Japan runs at the Eskeanzi until 8 July.