Private view

Tuesday 19 January 2016
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Material Witness by Saya Kubota

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle (entrance facing Regent's Park), London NW1 4QP

Organised by The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Alongside the Private View of Material Witness, the artist, Saya Kubota, will be joined in conversation by Dr Yasuyuki Yoshida, Associate Professor of Archaeology at Kanazawa University from 7pm. They will discuss Kubota’s work and practice, with a particular focus on archaeological issues arising from her recent work.  

Material Witness presents Saya Kubota’s new bodies of work around memory and physical traces of the past which, although they have seemingly altered in form or even to have disappeared, still persist in the present time and space. From modified paintings to an unusual postal service, they signal what their material existences might have witnessed. The solo exhibition at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation will present her two different bodies of works: Material Witness and the Missing Post Office UK.

Dilapidated portraitures and abandoned objects, all items which were once cherished, are perceived as material images of art by Kubota’s hands. The artist overlaps the work of the original makers with her creative input, such that eyes are masked with fractal stones that disperse lights; multicultural icons of female saints are overlaid on each other; and binoculars are embellished and anthropomorphised as a potential extension of the human body.

Imaginations and memories kept afloat will be collected in the post boxes of the Missing Post Office UKMissing Post Office (MPO) looks after letters you’ve always wanted to write but did not know where to send. While awaiting delivery to an unknown destination, the letters are left to drift, floating in a liminal space in the care of this unusual postal service. MPO invites visitors to read the collected letters, or even post their own, at this UK branch. Originally opened on the small island of Awashima in Japan as part of Setouchi Triennale in 2013, the MPO in Japan has so far received more than 10,000 letters.

MPO UK is able to receive your letters from now until 22nd February 2016.  The MPO UK branch is joined by a former General Post Office worker Mr. Payne as its Postmaster.

For those who wish to contribute, please acknowledge the Q&A and details found on, and send your stamped letters to the address below:

Missing Post Office UK c/o

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London NW1 4QP

MPO UK is in association with the City & Guilds of London Art School. 

The exhibition is curated by Eiko Honda.

The Asahi Shimbun on the Missing Post Office UK, 18 January 2016 Japanese (日本語) Japanese island to become home to British people's messages to absent friends, Japan Today 12 February 2016

About the contributors

Saya Kubota

Saya Kubota was born in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1987, and is a PhD candidate at Tokyo University of the Arts. She was the artist-in-residence at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2015. Kubota’s practice revolves around memory and physical traces of the past, which although they have seemingly altered in form or even to have disappeared, are still sustained in the present time and space. She is the winner of 2014 Terada Art Award.

Dr Yasuyuki Yoshida

Dr Yasuyuki Yoshida is an Associate Professor of Archaeology at Kanazawa University, specialising in prehistoric Jomon period artefacts and ceramics. He is currently Handa Japanese Archaeology Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC). During this one-year fellowship, Dr Yoshida will introduce broader aspects of Jomon archaeological practices to UK audiences, based on his current research into Jomon relics such as Dogu clay figurines. Since 2013 he has hosted the Seminar series ‘Archaeology and Contemporary Society’ at Kanazawa University, which explores themes such as ‘Art and Archaeology’ to investigate wider aspects of the relationship between the study of archaeology and modern society.

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