The Bushfire Relief Auction: Japanese Highlights

In this post, we shine a light on a beautiful selection of Japanese Works of Art (Lots 121-127) in our forthcoming Bushfire Relief Auction, generously donated by renowned gallerist, Lesley Kehoe.

Internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading Japanese art dealers since 1981, Lesley Kehoe celebrates and is dedicated to the refined Japanese aesthetic and has said, ‘We see art as universal and beauty as its most essential component. Our commitment is to art as an intimate partner in our everyday lives. We work to overcome inbuilt prejudices of what art is and who may access it, and which culture monopolises it.’

Lot 124, an eight side box cast in bronze with gold foil, by artist Hatakeyama Koji epitomises and combines the refined Japanese aesthetic and traditional crafts. Born in Takaoka city, historically part of the Kaga feudal domain of the renowned Maeda daimyo, an area renowned for the ancient art of metal casting, the artist selects the contained vessel as the ‘physical expression of his creativity’.

In Japan, the etiquette surrounding the use of boxes was those designated for domestic use (ura) and those, more elaborate and symbols of status and power, set aside for conspicuous display and the entertainment of guests (omote). ‘Outer’ and ‘Inner’ represent duality, metaphors for the superficial and the profound; the easily perceived veneer and the deeply embedded core. This implied duality is expressed variously in Hatakeyama’s works: the physical outside and inside (omote and ura); traditional techniques and modern interpretation; function and a-function; solid and flowing; form and abstraction; filled and unfilled space (yohaku); matter and void.

The box, the lidded vessel, is a perfect embodiment of ‘yohaku’, the perfect invitation to discover, to experience the fleeting moment of sensory delight in that discovery.

Hatakeyama’s work is represented widely in international museum collections including The V&A London, Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo and The National Gallery of Victoria.

An glass sculpture by Toshio Iezumi (Lot 122) is another highlight. The artist has developed a unique technique, for which he is now renowned, of creating elegant glass sculptures by laminating sheets of glass into a block and carving and polishing the block, creating a finished surface that appears to change in colour and form, as the light reflects upon it.

Toshio’s work is also represented in major museums including The Corning Museum of Glass, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Newark Museum of Art, The Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo.

This section also features two magnificent vessels by artists Koie Ryoji (Lot 121) and Oyama Yasuyuki (Lot 123) alongside, for lovers of all things Japanese, a Sake Master Class (Lot 125), an Ikebana installation by Shoso Shimbo PhD (Lot 126), a sculptor and certified teacher of Ikebana (Sogetsu School) and a private Chado (Japanese Tea) experience (Lot 127) for four people with The Urasenke Tankokai Association, Melbourne.