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.

Musou (Peerless) by Morigami Jin
Crimson no 2 (Kurenai) by Morigami Jin

His triaxial weave anthropomorphic piece was also fascinating, given that I am currently wrestling with my own hexagonal weave piece for my final assessment.

Twin Dragon II (Souryu II) by Morigami Jin

Honda Shoryu’s pieces also explored geometry in a very organic way.

Infinity by Honda Shoryu
In the Air (Sora) by Honda Shoryu

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.

Inside Out by Ueno Masao

Mimura Chikuho’s Wind Pattern did indeed evoke the ripples of wind across a wheat field.

Wind Pattern by Mimura Chikuho

Yonezawa Jiro’s pieces explored random weave with bamboo in different widths, often combined with rattan and painted with lacquer.

Red Fossil by Yonezawa Jiro
Old Well by Yonezawa Jiro

Yufu Shohaku’s freeform pieces added even more texture with bamboo cordage and weaving with multiple strips.

Flower basket by Yufu Shohaku
Flower basket by Yufu Shohaku

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.

Disappear VII (Utakata) by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV and Sawako Kaijima

Contemporary Bamboo: Masters from Japan runs at the Eskeanzi until 8 July.

Never miss a post!

Sign up to receive an email notifying you whenever a new blog post is published.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *