Yuko Fujita ‘Kodama (return to me)’ @ e.g.etal

16 07 2010

Last night I attended the opening at e.g.etal of Yuko Fujita’s ‘Kodama (return to me)exhibition.

Melbourne jeweller, Yuko Fujita, is transforming recycled objects of distinctly domestic and ordinary origins into bold pieces of jewellery. Discarded and all but forgotten, the wooden objects used by Fujita were retrieved from thrift shops and friends’ cupboards.

opening night; photograph taken with gallery permission; artist on the far left

The exhibition design, by Katherine Bowman, is thoughtful, subtle and quite perfect for the work. The space, bordered by hip-high cabinets and walls, was empty of people when I first walked into the gallery last night – I felt like it was so quiet in there, a precious place set aside, and I was almost reticent to enter as my presence would disrupt the stillness.

At the door is a projection of images, which is both visually engaging and provides context – though I was so interested in getting inside I didn’t see all of the film. Next to the door is a collection of wooden objects held in one of the display boxes, the glass of which has japanese text written on – I loved this, it seemed very wabi-sabi to me; a little temple to the everyday objects; a group of ordinary things that any moment may become a piece of Yuko’s jewellery.

Another small but enjoyable touch were the blackboards with handwritten jewellery-related text in the retail cabinets … very cool, and quite effective in separating the two bodies of jewellery (Yuko’s from the retail pieces of many other artists).

After visiting the exhibition I found Katherine’s post about her thoughts and the approach she took to creating the setting for Yuko’s work. Make sure you read it; for me, knowing such care of thought and more about each detail enriches the experience.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

I do have a confession though: when I first saw the detail/cropped photograph on the invitation, I must say I thought I saw similarities to the work of Natalia Milosz-Piekarska. Of course this was triggered by the main material. However such initial (almost unconscious) responses are often unformed and unfair; the brain likes to make connections quickly as a means of placing new information ‘in place and around’ already known information. While both artists (and many others besides!) have a strong connection with hand-working wood, their respective collections are made with different techniques and of course different topics of exploration and intentions.

I enjoyed speaking with Yuko about her work; hearing of how she observes and waits to see the characteristics that show the essence of an object. Patience and trust – personal characteristics I admire. As is written in the exhibition text: ‘Fujita’s pieces are realised through a reaction to her materials – sometimes spontaneous, other times they evolve slowly while she allows the materials time to ‘communicate’ with her.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The quality of the construction is wonderful and meticulous. I wish I could conceive and make such beautiful connections between necklace components – I especially like those on ‘frozen vein‘ and ‘quiet show‘ (second from the left in the image above). And the little details that catch the eye … like the silver insets in the components on ‘frozen vein‘.

There are three brooches and eight necklaces in this collection. My favourite piece being the black necklace ‘midnight meeting‘ (second from the left in the second image above) and in fact I really loved the brooch Yuko was wearing at the opening.

Yuko Fujita’s ‘Kodama (return to me)‘ is at e.g.etal until 31st July 2010, as part of State of Design Festival Look.Stop.Shop.

Update (18th July): Katherine has more photographs of the exhibition on her site here. E.g.etal blog has an interview with Yuko and also photographs of the opening night!



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