KOSAKU KANECHIKA is pleased to present Junko Oki's solo exhibition Embroidery from 18 July–22August 2020.
Contained within the bodies of long-forgotten cloths and tools, Junko Oki prolongs the untold tales of these items through her art. Winding the spool that has been tethered to the artist's time with her embroidery, new works replete with a renewed source of life and touch of serendipity are born.
Currently held at the Hagi Uragami Museum, Oki's solo exhibition, anthology, consists of a newly spun installation piece composed of approximately 7,000 thread spools from the various prefectures of Japan. Apart from the captured moments between each spool and its former owner, the contours of Oki's embroidery are brought to life by a myriad of stitches embellished upon a cloth support. With the museum's tea room serving as a setting for chance encounters, it is through the exhibition term of one year that new tales will be spun. Allowing various points in time to converge, Oki's embroidery holds the potential to both fuse together and create new matter.
Conversely, the works included within this exhibition simply embody the reflection of embroidery upon itself. Oki explains as follows:
For this solo exhibition, I wholly devote myself to my embroidery. Considering the Japanese title of the show which can be translated as 'the reason of embroidery', the kanji for embroidery means to 'solemnly prick', whereas the character for reason can be broken down to mean 'natural' and 'innate'. My intent in this being that I would like to disclose the intrinsic essence of embroidery. Through the accumulation of numerous stitches, the melding of time into the vessels of bygone cloths and tools was accomplished. It is from these actions that a divergence was made. In knowing that my time was limited, the genuine weight of responsibility was made aware to me. Having been given the opportunity to introduce my embroidery work, I aim to expend the potential that I have received. With this serving as the purpose for my existence, I devote myself to my art, by which becomes the purest form of embroidery.
With the recent tempest of change completely unforeseen, the world has suddenly become afflicted by a virus. Brimming with fear and anxiety, such agitation appears to multiply endlessly in this era of crisis. Unable to return to the same conditions as before, anyone could recognise the uncertainty that follows familiar human activities. Nevertheless, we are at a turning point by which there is hope to be found in the possibility that people's values will change.
What should one do at such a time? Transcribed into Oki's notebooks time and again, there exists a critique of German printmaker, Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), that was written by novelist and literary critic, Yuriko Miyamoto.
'Talent exists as an obligation.' If talent is bestowed, it is both mine to keep and not. With a duty to the happiness of a flourishing mankind, Kollwitz's grandfather, Julius Rupp, understood the value of individual talent. It was with such a drive that he not only protected Kollwitz from the traditional pressures of becoming a domesticated woman, but likewise imbued these values upon his granddaughter. Between the reality of difficulty and convolution found in a woman's life, her grandfather's proverb always seemed to have been a source of Kollwitz's courage.
[Miyamoto, Y. (1979). The Complete Works of Yuriko Miyamoto (Vol. 14). Shin Nihon Shuppansha]
These words continue to resonate strongly with Oki, allowing her to create without hesitation. Rather than its treatment as a medium, Oki simply presents her embroidery through the swelling volume of stitches found in her work. This exhibition, which will consist of approximately 10 works, serves as a new beginning. Connecting events of the past to those in the future, the role of this artist appears to be needed now, more than ever. At this time, we cordially invite you to attend Junko Oki's solo exhibition, Embroidery.
Press release courtesy KOSAKU KANECHIKA.