|Kumi Korf’s An Amphora and a Fish|
Next week’s exhibition opening–Wednesday, October 3rd!– is almost upon us, and with its impendent arrival has come the frenzy of pulling together artists’ statements, works, and the pedestals on which to set them. Kumi Korf’s prints and artists’ books will be among those showcased in our Featured Artists Series. Korf will offer a retrospective on her work with the Japanese paper Akatosashi, or red paper form Tosa, Japan. In anticipation of this exhibit, I have been reflecting on handmade Japanese papers, Washi, and their historical uses and social meanings. Korf’s careful note of the papermakers of Akatosashi as well as her thematic fascination with the interweaving of Japanese and Western culture demands I and others who observe her art take this into consideration.
Here is what I’ve gathered: According to the Chronicles of Japan, Nihon Shoki, written in 720, the Korean Buddhist priest Doncho introduced Chinese methods of making ink and paper to Japan in 610. However, he felt that the Chinese-style paper was too fragile and pushed for use of kozo (mulberry) and hemp fibers. Under his guidance, this process evolved buy modafinil uk review into the nagashizuki method of making paper, which uses kozo and neri. This process was not purely utilitarian in nature, but grew to metaphysically represent the paper’s maker. This essential quality of the washi production process has had lasting results on Japanese culture. During the mid-nineteenth-century’s Meji Japan saw an increase in demand for paper. This period also marked the beginning of a shift from washi to western, machine-made papers. Despite the change, washi has maintained its cultural importance.
Washi is an adaptable, expressive, lightweight paper. In her personal account of her work, Korf praises the paper for its “versatile quality.” She enjoys it for its readiness to produce both collages and prints made from various methods. She is firm that Akatosashi is integral to her product. No doubt this is due not only to paper’s material qualities (a unique red color), but its printing history which informs Korf’s artistic point of view.
– -Clare Slaughter-Exhibitions Intern
Source: “History of Washi,” http://www.hiromipaper.com/
Join us on Wednesday, October 3rd at 6pm for the opening of our fall exhibitions, including Korf’s Featured Artist Project. More information is available here.