I viewed the Bite Size exhibition at Daiwa Foundation Japan House in early December 2011.
The piece that particularly sticks in my mind is Jun Mitsuhashi’s “Rainy Book”.
This piece stood out to me as it was obviously different to most of the other items (that were more “traditional” textiles displays) and it was an everyday item that had become a piece of art.
The catalogue stated…
“In Japanese we have a phrase which translates as ‘work in the fields when the sun shines, read books at home when it rains’.
I based this piece upon a book. The inspiration was the bookmarks that I used to mark interesting pages as I read through the book. The bookmarks are like splashes of rain, reminding me of rainy days. On the cover, fossils or gemstones are embedded as a reminder of ancient events.
I hope that this piece serves as a ‘book mark’ to show the intersection between a uniquely Japanese view of nature and my own point of view.”
The book has been transformed from an everyday object by the treatment of the artist, and it has also been given additional cultural and personal meaning through the proverb it represents.
I’d not heard of Jun Mitsuhashi’s work before and was surprised to come across the following statement on the Transition and Influence Gallery website:
“Trained as a dyer, his starting points for his works are images and drawings that, together with the final outcome, are elements in his continuous interior narrative, from which he extracts tableaux that become self-referential worlds, revealing the secret life of everyday objects.”
Do everyday objects have a secret life? Perhaps they’re not so ordinary after all… and it seems I’m not the only one to notice.