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MOON: Tsuki wo koso…
Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana
Special collaborative exhibition to celebrate Kondaya’s 280th anniversary
Ippodo New York’s 10th year anniversary
Special Exhibition

One moon lit night that illuminates the dark night.
A moonlit night, brightly illuminating the dark.
The renowned Kyoto obi sash house, Kondaya Genbey, has partnered with Ippodo to celebrate its own 280th anniversary and Ippodo New York’s 10th anniversary.
To celebrate the occasion, an innovative exhibition was held, showcasing obi sash craftsmanship and Venetian glass.

Kondaya Genbey is a long-established manufacturer and purveyor of obi with a history stretching back over 280 years. During the first year of the Meiji era, “Kondaya” was awarded the “Yokozuna” title by Nishijin Obi Daigen dealer.

In 1980, He succeeded by the current Yamaguchi Genbey X when he was 27 years old. Since then, He had worked with fashion designer Hiroko Koshino, architect Kengo Kuma , painter Toko Matsui. He had been exploring possibilities for the world of Japanese textile and hosting many exhibitions. He sticks to the material making and achieve formidable kills to the one of a kind obi making. His works became well known widely abroad and 7 of his works is now in the London Victorian & Albert museum.

In 1980, and at the young age of 27, Yamaguchi Genbey X took succession of Kondaya Genbey. He has since taken the longstanding techniques handed down from generation to generation in the old capital of Kyoto, and has applied them in many different avenues. He has worked with fashion designer, Hiroko Koshino, architect, Kengo Kuma, painter, Toko Matsui. He is constantly exploring possibilities for the world of Japanese textiles, and has dedicated his efforts to holding many exhibitions. From the meticulous crafting of materials to the masterful skills applied by artisans, all of this goes into the one-of-a-kind artistry of the obi. This pioneering spirit of creativity is widely recognized abroad. Seven of his works are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

On the other had Laura de Santillana is base in Venice. In 1921, her grandfather casted a stone in the glass art industry founded Venini and she was grew up watching him. When she was 18, She moved to New York and worked in the architect and graphic art industry. Before she knows it she started working with the sight of her family’s business which is glass and lights. when she went back to the island when she was 30 years old, she started her work as an glass artist.

The other half of this exhibition features the works of Laura de Santillana, who is based in Venice. In 1921, her grandfather founded Venini, which completely upended classical Venetian glass art at that point. De Santillana grew up watching her grandfather. At the age of 18, she moved to New York and worked in architecture and the graphic arts industry. Before she knew it, she became more involved in her family’s business, engaging with the glass objects or glass light forms that are signatures of the Venini brand. When she was 30 years old, she returned to the island (Venice) and began her career as a glass artist.

Her art is simple yet sophisticated, strong and alive. She is known for her flat glass object and it now in The Metropolitan Museum of art in NYC, Decorative Art museum in Paris etc in world renown museums.

Her art is simple yet sophisticated, strong and alive. She is known for her flat glass objects and her works are now counted in the collections of major world museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, among others.

In regards to her process, it is not only critical to have knowledge on glass, but to also be able to think through the next steps with extreme concentration and decision making while creating.
Four years ago, Genbey and Laura met at Laura de Santillana’s exhibition held at Ginza Ippodo Gallery. Both were brought up in the large cultural hubs that are Kyoto and Venice, respectively. Both are from well-known artisan families. And while their ages and circumstances differed, they were drawn to each other – they’ve felt a shared compassion and respect for one another ever since.

This highly challenging process is inspired but the intangible yet vital element, the breath with the ultimate them of this special collaboration exhibition a poem by Konreimonin from the Heian Period(794-1185):

Many a time have I gazed at the moon,
But never so poignant did it seem, As amid tonight’s star-strewn skies.

Filled with romance and fantasy, this exhibition allows the audience to return to the origins of viewing.

This traveling exhibition will make its way to New York and it will surely capture the hearts of art lovers in the US and all over the world.

1st page

Right
The obi, flying carp and the untitled filled with gold flakes is displayed at a white night with the plum trees blooming.

On a still night, in front of a folding screen depicting the image of a mature plum tree, is the double-woven obi, “Flying Carp”, next to a glass piece, “Untitled”, with suspended flakes of silver leaf. The pieces sit next to each other in a calm harmony, receiving the soft light of the inner garden.

2nd page

Top
The rectangle glass objects changes their faced with the light like the surface of the water.

The rectangular glass pieces that line the main room seemingly change their appearance depending on the given moment; the flakes of silver and gold foil that are suspended in each monotone glass body, shimmers and reflects light like the surface of water moving in the breeze.

Right
The exhibition venue was the eye-catching site of “Kondaya”.

Left
Laura and Genbey enjoying a conversation.

To an artisan, the workshop is a sacred space. While paying mutual respect to one another’s craft while in this sacred space, Genbey and Laura enjoy a conversation together.

3rd page
The main installation of this exhibition.
The main visual used for this exhibition: A magnificent obi with embroidered wisteria and pine motifs, paired with the gold flakes baked into the amber-colored glass – a fantastical resonance that is something to behold.

Top
The permanent collection of Kondaya.
The two obi pieces on the left are made of mother of pearl that has been affixed to washi paper. In order to prevent breaking, a thread of 0.3 mm in thickness is woven through horizontally. An obi of this same type is in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

4th

Top
This object is inspired by Princess Kaguya.
Bamboo is symbolic of purity and is also considered a good omen. This glass piece, with its rich bamboo coloring, is inspired by the tale of Princess Kaguya and her ascension to the moon.

Left
This one-of-a-kind obi, woven with peacock feathers, is impossible to recreate now, as the original artisans involved have advanced in age.