Friday, July 11, 2008

Taishô Chic

KOBAYAKAWA Kiyoshi Tipsy 1930.
Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Today I had a luxurious day off and went to the city to meet my Nana (she's 82) to visit the Art Gallery and see the Taishô Chic exhibition. She treated me to lunch too as it's my birthday next week which was lovely.

The exhibition is well worth seeing - it ties in Japanese modernity, nostalgia and art deco. It really shows women in the 1920's and 30's in a modern Japan struggling with traditional and western culture which had a huge impact then.

By listening in to someone else's guide I learnt most of the pieces in the exhibition belonged to a Patricia Salmon. She was a Pan Am flight attendant in the 1950's who collected lots of wonderful old japanese art, kimonos, decorative pieces and furniture. She taught english etiquette to Japanese women and eventually moved to Honululu. Her collection was given to Hawaii and we are very lucky to see such a fabulous insight into the lives of women in Japan at that time.

The collection of kimonos are fabulous - some of them date from the 20's and they could be completely modern now. Tres chic!

Here is the blurb from the Art Gallery NSW's website:
Taishô chic
Japanese modernity, nostalgia and deco

22 May - 3 August 2008
Asian gallery, Ground Level

Japan in the early 20th century was a place of great change. The essential question of the day was: how could one be both Japanese and modern at the same time when modernity was defined as Western?

Nowhere was this more evident that in the arts, particularly in the image of women. On one hand, there was the liberated, self-confident, fun-loving ‘modern girl’, who dressed in Western fashion and decorated her home in Western style; on the other, the ‘good wife’ and ‘wise mother’, who epitomised traditional Japanese femininity.

The balance between modernity and nostalgia – the clash and the embrace – is captured in this exhibition of paintings, prints, textiles and decorative arts from the period, ranging from prints of cooly sophisticated young women to bold kimonos with abstract patterns that reinterpreted traditional motifs and sleek glassware that represented the latest in art deco chic.

Organised by the Honolulu Academy of Arts. This exhibition has been made possible by support from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

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