In this exhibition, several famous Kyoto tea houses were introduced through photographs, architectural diagrams and other forms, to convey an understanding of key concepts such as wabi-sabi. The exhibition gave the viewer a feel for the Zen-influenced culture surrounding the Kyoto tea house, and highlighted the history of the renowned Uji tea growing region south of Kyoto.
Japan’s leading calligrapher Tomoko Kawao offered a calligraphy demonstration during the private view.
The portable tea room Kian, designed and built by Masayuki Inaida, Yamanaka Construction Office, was also on display. A simple bamboo construction, through its incompleteness the ‘Kian’ teahouse demonstrated the beauty and philosophy underlying the Kyoto tea house.
The exhibition was curated by Spin180 and it was made possible with the kind assistance of Kyoto Prefectural Authority and Daitokuji-Daiji-in Temple.
About the contributors
Spin180 is an Amsterdam-based company which promotes cultural links between Japan, the UK and Europe. Our last exhibition, closing in April, was a history of Osaka trains at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum. Our next exhibition will be on the life and works of Sakubei Yamamoto, a coal-miner painter granted UNESCO Memory of the World registration and will be on at the National Coal Mining Museum for England from September, 2017.
Tomoko Kawao is a calligrapher based in Kyoto who began practicing her discipline at the age of six. At the beginning of her training, she was replicating ancient Chinese works; this exercise led her to create a theme called “Ko-Oh”, or “Call and Response”. She is still exploring this theme in her live performances and workshops. Kawao also undertakes a wide variety of callgraphic projects in numerous fields and media, in what she defines as her “Calligraphy in Everyday Life” activities. Example include producing name tablets for temples and shrines, compositions and sumi expressions for newspapers, TV and radio programs.
Masayuki Inaida is the Architectural Director of the Yamanaka Construction Office. The Kyoto-based company has specialised in building temples and tea rooms for over 100 years. Inaida designed and built the portable tea room Kian, which was on show in the Mews gallery on the Private View’s night. Inaida has performed tea ceremonies around the world, including in Kumamoto after the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake.