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Natural Fiber Material Series

Textural Expressions
Aesthetica Magazine the online Q&A
Posted on 15 December 2017
The original document - Wrote by MIKA YAJIMA on 7 November 2017
    出稿原稿 日本語 Textural Expressions Japanese.pdf
 English native checked by K. Davis
The original document English Textural Expressions English.pdf

Q1.You recently returned to Tokyo after participating in the Accessible Art Fair in Brussels. How was your trip?
  あなたは最近、ブリュッセルのアクセシブルアートフェアに参加した後、東京に戻ってきました。 旅どうだった?
It is, indeed, 30 years since I last visited Belgium when I was a student.
At the ACCESSIBLE Art Fair, I asked each visitor 'Which one do you like best, please tell me for my marketing research.' Belgian people have their own view,
very simple and stylish, of art & design. I got lots of reactions and responses and could able to know favourite No.1
For Weaving Works, there were generally good responses from the elderly people especially woman who knew 'Kuba's Raffia Textile in Congo'.
It is a tremendous pleasure that artists and staff's mother came to express their compliments.
For Framed Shaggy lugs on Japanese Mulberry Paper, 'I have never seen before' 'How unusual'. It was an honor to meet young owner who collected my work.
She sent me her photos of her displayed flat with my work. I received printed Aesthetica magazine in Brussels and able to gift her it.
Who could imagine that I would come back to Belgium as an artist in 30 years later? It was a very moving event for me.
お気に入りNo.1 の作品を知ることが出来ました。

Q2.In moving from folk art to techniques reflective of modern art, was there a challenge in expressing themes or emotions within new forms?
Universe is often likened to weaving, but in a hand woven work that does not depend on digital, it can two-dimensional represented only by the vertical and horizontal axes.
In my 9x9 composition series I challenged to be conscious of the three-dimensional feeling with mixed fibre collage such as shaggy rug's technique searching for the
answer of "Secrets of the 81 squares" of a shogi board's universe.
Gold and silver leaf forms by paper patterns treated with astringent persimmon used in Yuzen kimono's processing, are also recent new attempts for emotional expressions.
I tried to show a view of the world that like the impermanence of our life and the permanence of one's inner soul.
-Floating leaf on Ryusui, The shadows of Foliage, INSIDE -One's inner soul... Ad infinitum.
  宇宙は織物に例えられますがデジタルに依存しない手織物作品では縦軸と横軸の2次元的表現しか出来ません。9x9 コンポジションシリーズでは将棋盤と同じ81マスから宇宙軸

Q3.What elements are gained and/or lost when transitioning to modern art? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with the different forms?
    現代美術に移行する際に、どんな要素が得られ、失われていますか? さまざまなフォームで作業することの利点と欠点は何ですか?
1. gained and/or lost when transitioning to modern art
- If I wanted to become a manufacturing craftsman, I must have sit in front of the weaving loom 365 days and continue to weave for keeping its condition.
Or I must have live with the master under the apprentice system and practice. I have been looking at such craftsmen in the era when I work at the Kimono Company.
In the field of commercial artwork, once installed it will be exposed to the atmosphere for a long time and dust will accumulate, and fibre will need to devise to keep it
under harsh environments. Since it is set up inside the company, it is not known to the general public and is degraded by client maintenance situation and company
policy and has a fate to become scrap.
Contemporary art is ambiguous and free of definition, so I can gain the element to remove these problems that I experienced for 30 years and make a place
where I am.
There is something to lose if I do not deepen and continue to produce; it is common in all genres.
 1. どんな要素が得られ、失われていますか?

.2. advantages and disadvantages of working with the different forms
-Regarding commercial artwork, it was inevitable that there was no same form each time because I embodied a design that emerged from bottom of my heart while
walking in consciousness on the drawing under different places and conditions. I know that working with different forms as an artist has a disadvantage to be suspected
of my identity, but the basic techniques are spinning, winding, weaving, twisting - just combining simple technique with paradoxical materials. I consider the enjoyment
that it is enough to know the whole thing when my life is totalized, as an advantage.
2. さまざまなフォームで作業することの利点と欠点

Q4.Much of your work is produced on textiles you have woven yourself. How important to you is this aspect of the process?
  あなたの作品の多くは、あなたが織った織物で作られています。 このプロセスの側面は、あなたにとってどれほど重要ですか?
I use woven textiles as parts or overall that cannot be done with machine, digital, or AI. Plant fibres themselves are weak and easy to cut. When you gather and
bundle up those weak things, spin them into thread, wind them into rope − when you add movement to them, they transform into stronger things.
Representing the DNA trajectory of plants, essential for human beings from ancient times, by art, not clothing, is an important process to know my own identity.
Just as hemp fibres of thousands of years ago are excavated and proved their existence, it is possible to travel with time and space as past, present and future.

Q5.Are the themes expressed by your art specific to culture, given the locality of the plants used, or are they in some ways universal?
Human beings have inherited with various ideas and ingenuity by utilizing the technology making full use of plant fibre collection since ancient times.
You know the tracks have been left not only in Japan, but in universal. In one place, the succession has been quitted due to conflict, and in some place
it has been automated by the development of technology.
In Japan that extends from the north to the south there still exist a wide variety of plants due to the difference in climate, so folk art materials also exist diversely
as part of kimono culture. It is the miracle that have been inherited or restored after the World War U by the predecessors' efforts.
Regarding me, my ancestor succeeded a mountain on the 33°N latitude line (suitable for harvesting various plants throughout the year),
so I could able to gather myself a variety of materials without traditional kimono or craft industry association.
  古くから植物繊維の採取技術を駆使して、人間は様々なアイデアや創意工夫を受け継いできました。 日本だけでなく、世界中でその軌跡は残されています。

Q6.Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
1. INSIDE - from my inner soul
2. A paradoxical combination that like matter and antimatter ±0
 -If I had not been for 30 years with my husband-aerospace engineer, and had not ever seen any SF movies or discuss about the advanced science,
I might have become a boring artist or not become an artist.

Q7.What spiritual themes are you expressing through your conceptual artworks?
INSIDE -One's inner soul,
INSIDE -内なる心,
Each conceptual artwork has a common theme and relevant though expression style is different.

Q8.Tell me about your work on kimonos.
I joined Kimono Corporation as a regular employee, and choose to get a job rather than graduate school.
1988-1990, I spent 2 years in charge of merchandising specially selected kimono made by a variety of craftspeople including 'Japanese living national treasures'.
When my colleague or boss did not exist, I was able to see and learn all the special works as product management that could not see in general.
This experience had a great effect to me to distinguish techniques deeply.

And spent a further 2 years in the marketing of the sales department in charge of sales promotion for events such as a cultural event where old imperial and
samurai daily clothes and furnishings were exhibited, and Kimono-Fairs involving several thousand consumers.
From this experience, I understood that the basic style of the fair that organizes and participates, artists and buyers, art and kimonos that have similar price ranges,
even if the eras and contents change, trading value-added products and offering encounters with works remains the same.

Q9.What projects are you working on now? What do you have planned for 2018?
  どのようなプロジェクトを今作業していますか? 2018年に何を計画していますか?
1. New Atelier 新アトリエ
-In this year, I am renovating an old house in the suburbs of Tokyo to designing a new atelier. I am planning an installation space that can be multi use,
as well as studio visits.
2. World Art Dubai 2018  ワールド・アート・ドバイ2018
-I am planning to participate in World Art Dubai 2018 as an independent solo artist.
I have got inspiration from Islamic design which I experienced for the first time in this April. It will certainly be a different form.
I simply want a place to express creation without stopping.
―今年4月に初めて経験したイスラミックデザインからインスピレーションを得た作品を出品したいと考えています。 それは今までとは別の形になるかもしれません。
3. Collaboration with physicists 物理学者とのコラボレーション
-A Japanese physicist who casually met at the Accessible Art Fair understood what I was trying to express at a glance.
They have a specialized knowledge to theoretically prove my past work. Even though it will take years, I will realize collaboration with them, my hope!

OCTOBER 5-8, 2017
English & 日本語 PDF

I was standing here at Grand-Place once before, as an art university student on a 40-day art tour looking
around 14 countries in Europe and Egypt. I could hardly imagine that I would come back to Brussels again as an artist almost 30 years later.
After World Art Dubai in this April 2017, I started Instagram for the first time to share photos of the event. Yes, I was just a beginner.
Soon Ms. Alina Maria Ologu (Curator of ACAF) gave me a 'like'. I saw her account and the words 'Artist Call for the ACCESSIBLE Art Fair Brussels'.
I saw several TED Talks of CEO & Founder Ms. Stephanie Manasseh - A new way to show art  'Removing the barriers between the buyer and the artist',
'woman supports woman' - The ACCESSIBLE Art Fair's concept was obviously what I was looking for.
At the final deadline, I made an application with careless photos but luckily I was selected as individual solo artist for the first time in an art fair.
"Why Belgium?", my Japanese acquaintances may wonder.
I bought a book 30 years ago in Europe about 'Kuba's Raffia Textile in Congo' and Raffia guided me to natural fiber materials (Congo and Belgium are historically connected)
and the contrast of the gold leaf on the stone building continues to influence my work subconsciously.
What better reason to make me want to show my new works for the first time.

 At the ACCESSIBLE Art Fair, I asked each customer 'Which one do you like best, please tell me for my marketing research.
'Belgian people have their own view, very simple and stylish, of art & design.
■I got lots of reactions and responses as follows,
Favorite No.1 'I like simple one' Favorite No.2 'Both combinations'   Favorite No.3 'Center line' 'vertical and horizontal balance'
'one leaf ∠45, It's me!' 'I like silver'

■There was no difference below; according to each personality.
'Simple but gorgeous' Elderly women's preference like Cross'/Men like   Black Frames/ like asymmetry
'C'est bon' 'Treasurely'         
Preference of more    Combinations    Combinations
characteristic people    silver and gold    white and silver
       Frame combination

■For Weaving Works;
There were generally good responses from the Elderly people who knew Raffia.
It is a tremendous pleasure that artists and staff's mother came to express their compliments.
Young people pointed out 'too much decorations'; they prefer simpler design.
■For Framed Shaggy lugs on Japanese Mulberry Paper;
'I have never seen before' 'How unusual'

I'm very grateful for your corporation to the all art fans and visitors coming to my booth.
And I would like to express my gratitude Ms. Stephanie Manasseh, Ms. Alina Maria Ologu,
members of the selection committee, the curators, staff, and all the Artists.
I will feed your comments back to future production and make use of them for the next stage.

With much appreciation,
Mika Yajima