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Yoneyama Midori / Kikuchi Rui Exhibition has ended! by Rui Kikuchi

Thank you to all the new friends, old mentors and people who attended my exhibition with textile artist Yoneyama Midori at Arai Gallery in Tokyo. Big thank you to the lady who supported me 11 years ago at the very beginning of my career when I was just a sprout - Arai Yasuko - Thank you so much!
Thank you gorgeous Joanne for modelling my work!

Comments Exhibition in Sydney by Rui Kikuchi

My work is showing in Sydney right now at Gaffa Gallery! "Comments", the fifth installment from the exhibition series "Unlimited Substance" opened last night with great success. Thank you to Michelle Genders who curated this exhibition!
For more information please visit:

https://unlimitedsubstance.wordpress.com/exhibition-5-comments/

第3回国際交流展 International Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition 2015 《young & energetic・ up-and coming》 by Rui Kikuchi

東京品川区大井町にあるジュエリー作家、平岩共代さんのギャラリーCreate Space Tokyoをクリスくんと伺いしました。駅から徒歩5分ぐらいの途中、まるでタイムスリップした懐かしい「すずらん通り」商店街を通り抜き、小さなギャラリーへ到着しました。
今回の展覧会は日本、韓国とノルウエーの若手ジュエリー作家17名作品が展示され、私の見慣れている作品への先入観かもしれないが、三島一能さんは選抜した日本代表の作品は3各国の中で一番輝いていた気がしまして、特に三島さんのシンプルで男性らしい造形とデザインに惹かれました。3月5日まで。

参加アーティスト:
JAPAN : 池山晃広・小山泰之・小嶋崇嗣・田口史樹・三島一能
NORWAY : Anna Talbot・Hedda Bjerkeli・Helene J.Linkosuonio・Runa Vethal Stølen
KOREA : Healim Shin・Hyejung Sin・Junsuk Min・Jieun Park・Jungeun Park・Joohyun Lee・Sungho Cho・Yeseul Seo


 

Art Jewellery Challenge Day Two by Rui Kikuchi

'Facebook Art Jewelry Challenge', was started by Donna Greenberg, in the hope of capturing a diversity of what is happening around the world of art jewellery. A combination of tardiness and preoccupation with other pursuits has resulted in my nomination by not one but four esteemed jewelers (Please see Day One).

So, for 5 days I will show some of my jewellery, and each day I will also nominate another artist to show us his/her jewellery, though so late in this chain I am running out of friends on Facebook to nominate, so I apologise in advance if one has shown their work previously or are just bored with this initiative.

Day Two:
The works below are a series I produced for the exhibition "By Example - Australian Contemporary Jewellery" curated by Karin Findeis and was shown at the Itami Museum of Arts and Crafts in 2010. A survey of the current waves in Australian jewellery, two younger participants are selected through nomination by their former mentors, but the confines of space and practicality inevitably produces some glaring omissions. Hard choices had to be made by the curator with the list of candidates blowing out exponentially.

Even before that though, the concept of the exhibition had a hard time getting into the first gear, as the creative organiser of the host institution, Fumiko Tsubo had much to convince the mayor and other municipal bureaucrats of the viability of the show. Two years previously, the British contributions did not cause much excitement, tempting the city to consolidate and keep programmes more local. Could the Australians do better? I wasn't privy to the arguments but thankfully Tsubo sensei won out, and the project got another boost with confirmation of funding from the Australia Council. The museum staff, not used to receiving money from national governments and skeptical of such avenues due to the ongoing drought in interest and support in Japan, were ecstatic. They could hardly believe it.

Meanwhile back in Sydney, Karin was left with the arduous task of putting together the actual exhibition, while I pitched in from time to time with meetings, interpreting, drawing up press releases and even appearing on local radio.

The series "Physis"  that I eventually submitted came about when I was milling through my grandfather's drawers of forgotten tools in my hometown of Mino.  Niro was a humble man having escaped the great incendiary bombing of Osaka City, death through conscription and battled food shortages in the aftermath of the Second World War.  His life was one of austerity and humility and the shelves put together by his resourceful hand showed it. It was a lifestyle of prosperity based on principles of poverty.  I loved his collection of random household elements - hooks, pins and baubles - and from his neglected stockpiles of nails I decided to make some jewellery.

Valerie, the much loved workshop technician at Sydney College of the Arts once dumped another pile of nails on my desk when she heard what I was doing. Her father had passed away some years before - and even she, despite being the regina instrumentum was forced to concede much of his tools to the dumping ground. Of the things that she had left she told me to make good use of it, and I packed the rusty iron into my suitcase back to Osaka and set to work.

The pieces were forged into elongated lines or broad tails, the heads cupped and made into spoon forms or pods, then blackened and wrapped or set in 18K gold.

Producing them proved to be an extreme challenge,  technical considerations, pressure from feeling too immature for inclusion not withstanding, as an old apartment of wood and paper construction was certainly not the ideal place to be forging steel (See Day One and Shota's problem). The impacts and vibrations were causing headaches to my elderly neighbours, particularly in the extreme humidity of summer and all my open windows.

They were finished in the following spring but in the 11th hour and Karin was growing restless. The exhibition had been the usual headache to organise-  juggling the logistics of so many participants, the multitude of paperwork to present at customs, going through the tedious process of ensnaring grants and communicating with an international venue of another language and culture, the day of installation was closing in -  and mine was the only work she hadn't seen.

Karin never painted these stresses on her face but I finally presented my work at her hotel lobby under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights. As I unwrapped the tissue paper, I felt like a nocturnal marsupial being pulled out of its burrow, but knew that she had liked the results.
"They're quite beautiful", she remarked.
Only three words, but Karin tends to only make full comments on things that require criticism for lack of attention to detail or the harsh words of scrutiny towards conceptual vagueness. Having risen to her seemingly impossible bar, I was relieved and so was my nominator.

A few days later the opening was buzzing - the Japanese audience had taken a liking to the colour, wearability and the striking forms of much of the presented pieces, the mayor could recognise them as jewellery at least and the hosts delighted in receiving a substantial proportion of the artists.  There was twinkle in Tsubo sensei's eyes and a great cultural exchange was taking place.
The Australians had made a great impression.

The first necklace below can be seen in the exhibition catalogue "By Example" published in 2010.  

For the second day, I nominate my friend and fellow university alumnus Saori Kita. whom I met when I was doing a residency at my alma mater. Strange things happen when you are with Saori - her coquettish frivolity is absolutely infectious and your whole body becomes consumed. Looking back to the JMGA conference in Perth, I entirely attribute my inability to stop giggling during the whole conference to her. By her bad influence we ticked off every Japanese girl stereotype with our incessant laughter and excitement, even getting a few laughs out of a bemused Karl Fritsch.
Furicchi (as he is known to us, but unbeknownst to him), would later be a great influence on Saori and her experimentation with rough stones and silver casting. She's recently back home in Japan after a long stint in Australia much to my pleasure. I'm glad to be ever extending my network of young jewellery artists.


Art Jewellery Challenge Day One by Rui Kikuchi

'Facebook Art Jewelry Challenge', was started by Donna Greenberg, in the hope of capturing a diversity of what is happening around the world of art jewellery.

A combination of tardiness and preoccupation with other pursuits (it was exhibition preparation I promise) has resulted in my nomination by not one but four esteemed jewelers.

I was nominated by my dear friend and mentor Karin Findeis, lecturer at the University of Sydney in Sydney College of the Art's jewellery department. Her attention to detail and how she taught me to relentlessly question myself and the making process is both quality control and a nightmare to my obsessive analytical self; Erin Keys, a Sydney jeweller whose biceps I envy, can endure the task of cutting and forming elegant Pollock-like lines in hard cold steel; Akiko Kurihara, currently residing in Milan whose jewellery specialty is delighting with her whimsical sense of humor; and Regine Schwarzer, long time resident of Adelaide who hand-cuts stones of delicious colours and presents them in elegant and bold settings.

Akiko and Regine have both visited my Kyoto studio and I look forward to more visitors in the future.

So, for 5 days I will show some of my jewellery, and each day I will also nominate another artist to show us his/her jewellery - though so late in this chain I am running out of friends on Facebook to nominate, so I apologise in advance if one has shown their work previously or are just bored with this initiative.

Now, before I can procrastinate any further I shall present my Day One.

These are some blasts from the past, a series titled 'Natura Insolitus' from 2008. Of this series, one was accepted into the Friedrich Becker Prize, another appears in Lark Books' "Silver and Gemstone Jewelry" and another was shown at the South Australian Museum.
The materials in the rings shown are silver, copper, gold leaf, freshwater pearl, peridot, rough diamond and silk.

The movable parts are connected to the ring body through a ball and socket joint I devised after being inspired by the engineering of Friedrich Becker and managed to figure something out without an aeronautical engineering degree. A personal feat but never managed to continue the series due to the impracticality of wear.
However, some nice memories I have of this series are when I showed it at the Migration Museum in Adelaide ("Moved", curated by Kath Inglis), is when Anna Davern and Vicki Mason gently jumped up and down in front of the plinth to make the parts move and exclaimed "How are they in there? ", and when in Munich, Otto Kunzli cocked his head, turned the ring over and made a contemplative "Hmmmm" sound.

For this first day, I shall nominate my friend and neighbour, Shota Suzuki. Originally from Miyagi prefecture in Japan's north-east and student of Toru Kaneko, he chases delicate floral forms in various metals, exhibiting the finesse of our traditional crafts with a contemporary edge.
Even though Shota has only recently moved to Kyoto he's hoping to move out of his current home. The walls of his apartment are rather thin, a common problem plaguing us jewellers in Japan who like to bang on metal and make sawing noises. My hope is that the people next door will be too obsessed with their life to notice him and will continue to be my neighbour and come around for dinner again, though I won't bring out any fish next time because it'll never be as good here as in Miyagi. But our eggplants and tofu are better than yours.

Tone Vigeland Exhibition by Rui Kikuchi

One of my heroes Tone Vigeland is having a major exhibition at the Bergen Kunsthalle in Norway. I wish I could gooooooo.....

Tone Vigeland
22. MAY 2014 - 17. AUG 2014 KUNSTHALLEN

"The Festival Exhibition 2014 - Muster. Opens Thursday 22nd of May at 1pm
This year’s Festival Artist is an international figure central to recent Norwegian art history. Tone Vigeland has won many awards and enjoys almost legendary status in some circles. As a jewellery artist she has occupied a special position since the end of the 1950s. In the mid-nineties, for the first time, she exhibited works that were independent of the body as ‘bearer’ of the objects, and which were instead self-bearing as free-standing sculptural objects.

In "Muster" Vigeland takes her sculptural activities into what is a hitherto unexplored format for her. The sculptures in this exhibition lie close to a kind of encompassing installation art — where each space is dominated by a single, fully cut work with dimensions that are directly related to the scale of the architecture.

When you see Vigeland’s early jewellery photographed against a neutral background, you lose the sense of the size and function of the object. What may look like a sculpture by Richard Serra, with large heavy surfaces leaning against one another in a strict balance, is perhaps in reality a bracelet consisting of four thin plates in steel and silver. Similarly, a jewel consisting of two hovering lines on metal that are accurately joined at a single crucial point may recall a suspended mobile by the sculptor Alexander Calder.

Such photographs bring out the parallels of Vigeland’s early jewellery with international modernism — and at the same time with her own later sculptures. But the photographs lose sight of the connections between the objects and the human body, some¬thing that for Vigeland has always constituted an indissoluble link in the jewellery art. If one of the works in the Festival Exhibition was photographed in a similarly ‘neutral’ way, without visualizing the spatial context in which the works are inscribed, you might perhaps think that they similarly look like jewellery. Like the jewel¬lery, these works too are dependent on a ‘bearer’, in this case the actual exhibition space.

Much has been said and written about Vigeland’s ‘transition to sculpture’ in the nineties. This transition also made it possible to use larger formats, and the Festival Exhibition can in that sense be seen as a natural continuation of an ongoing development. All the same, the large formats do not seem to be the main issue in the exhibition. The format seems rather to be pragmatically adapted to the physical setting of which the objects are a part.

Vigeland’s works still consist of a few recognizable components where a limited range of materials — all with a basis in the craft tra¬ditions of jewellery art — are tirelessly explored again and again. The colour scheme of Vigeland’s exhibition is often compared to a Norwegian winter landscape: cool, clear and pure. But this palette must first and foremost be attributed to the closeness to and honesty towards the material; the lustre of polished metals or the light-absorbing grey in a surface of oxidized silver. Lead. Steel. Iron. Aluminium.

Among Vigeland’s best known jewels there are a number of works that are assembled from many small repetitive elements into a network or a form that adapts to the body. In this way the hard material appears soft and malleable, almost like ‘knitted metal’. Another repeated element has been the principle of ‘one form — one piece’. Both these techniques are also clearly present in the Festival Exhibition. A few of the works exploit the principle of rep¬etitions of small elements assembled into a larger whole. Others clearly relate to the principle of one cohesive form.

The parallels with minimalism in visual art are palpable. While this connection has earlier existed at a formal or conceptual level, the Festival Exhibition comes closer to the most fundamental project of sixties minimalism. The artworks of minimalism were not to be regarded as objects from a distance, they were to be experienced by the body in the gallery space as phenomenological entities. The differences between Vigeland’s works and minimalism, however, are just as clear as the similarities. Instead of industrially produced ‘specific objects’, Vigeland’s installations are situated first and foremost in the transition between the overall format and the tiny details of the craftsmanship. The tension lies in the relationship between the total extension of the work as one form and the many details. One such detail is the handmade join¬ing of two metals: a small circular silver plate that is soldered like the head of a nail to a related steel pin — and which is repeated in the exhibition over 6000 times.

TONE VIGELAND (b. 1938) lives and works in Oslo.

The Festival Exhibition has been produced by Bergen Kunsthall since 1953, annually highlighting a contemporary Norwegian artist. The exhibition is well established as one of Norway’s foremost individual expositions."

Michieko Galerie: Goodbye Traditions! by Rui Kikuchi

ミュンヘンのミチエコギャラリーは伝統工芸の技法を応用する日本人の現代工芸作品を発表するそうです:

Participating artists:
Toru ISHI
Toshihiko IWATA
Kyohei MAEDA
Toshiya MASUDA
Takuro NOGUCHI
Yasutomo OTA
Misato SEKI
Misa TOYOSAWA
Yu UCHIDA
Mai YAMAMOTO

Michieko Galerie: Goodbye Traditions! by Rui Kikuchi

From Michieko Galerie in Munich Germany:

"Many images come to our mind when we think of Japan. Quite likely you would think of the timeless elegance of Japanese crafts. Perfection reached by omission, less is more. We think of Japanese kimono textiles, lacquerware, ceramics and various other crafts when we think of Japan. What is less known outside of Japan is that a new generation of up and coming artists have appropriated traditional craftsmanship to create 21st century art that lies beyond western expectations and puts into perspective the image that the official Japan tries to convey abroad.

Micheko Gallery has invited ten artists to participate at a group exhibition featuring various media: textiles, leaf gold, ceramics, glass and enamel newly interpreted. Most works on display have been newly created for this exhibition.

From May 11 till July 26 we will change the perception that is still predominant in the West that craftsmanship and art are two separate things. This is not the case in Japan and even in Europe this distinction was only introduced in the 19th century.

Three artists will be present at the opening and give a live demonstration in paper art, lacquerware and leaf gold applications.

Participating artists:
Toru ISHI
Toshihiko IWATA
Kyohei MAEDA
Toshiya MASUDA
Takuro NOGUCHI
Yasutomo OTA
Misato SEKI
Misa TOYOSAWA
Yu UCHIDA
Mai YAMAMOTO