Talk: Drawing and the ‘Glow of Grime’, Artwork Inspired by Japanese Aesthetics

@ Laing Art Gallery

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14 December 2016


£4 per person. Free for students (booking required and you must bring ID)

The Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki speaks about his appreciation of tarnished silver and of the “glow of grime”, and how darkness is an indispensable element of the beauty of lacquerware, which itself illuminates a space.

Siân Bowen, artist and Reader in Fine Art at Northumbria University will share her experiences of visiting lacquer workshops, kimono stencil cutters and papermakers across Japan during a research visit funded by the Daiwa Foundation. She will also talk about working with collection-holding institutions and the particular objects that have informed her ideas. These include a paper folding teahouse called a Fire-Fly Basket (Nishi Honganji Temple, Kyoto); folding architectural teahouse designs from the eighteenth century (Tokyo National Museum); and the Mazarin Chest, one on the most celebrated pieces of export lacquer (V&A, London).

Bowen’s works reflect an interest in creating and exhibiting drawings that interrogate materiality and states of flux, and the multi-sensory nature of museum heritage. Relating to this, cleaning and repairing, sullying and damaging, and polarities between light and darkness exist as recurring themes in her practice.

Siân Bowen studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle and Edinburgh College of Art, before undertaking a prestigious Monbusho Scholarship to Kyoto University of Arts. Bowen has carried out a number of residencies and projects in Japan (Kyoto Art Centre and Tokyo National Museum) and in the UK (V&A, London).

Part of a series of talks/events programmed alongside the exhibition Rosie Morris: Circles are Slices of Spheres.

Laing Art Gallery
New Bridge Street
Newcastle upon Tyne

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