Karen Stewart will be exhibiting at 100% Design South Africa with Candice Berman Gallery in association with Magicode.
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Big In Japan
This work is about materiality - honouring the bautifyul paper that I work with. In this series I am using papers that friend of mine brought back from Tokyo for me. Washi papers.
Tesuki washi (handmade Japanese paper) was invented in 105 AD by a Chinese official named Cai Lun, and introduced to Japan in 610 AD by Doncho, a Buddhist monk from Korea. The name Sekishu comes from the Sekishu region (present-day Iwami), where the paper was first produced, where from then on the art of handmade washi has been maintained and preserved within the area.
The raw materials for Sekishu washi are kozo, mitsumata, and gampi shrubs. Kozo and mitsumata are cultivated in the region but gampi grows wild. Sekishu-banshi made from Sekishu kozo is well known as the strongest paper produced in Japan. By the Edo period (1603-1867), Sekishu-banshi was popular among Osaka merchants for use in account books, and that name became widely known.
In addition, the techniques and methods used for Sekishu-banshi have been completely preserved by the crafts people who live in Misumi Town. Sekishu-banshi was registered at “the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” based on the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009 thus officially recognising the craft as “Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese hand-made paper”
“His Eastside prints, while seen in their splendid isolation, ask us to consider the greater intricacies which make up existence. Of his Eastside series, Roberson notes that what ‘excited’ him was ‘the painting’s accentuated fluidity when moving on the smooth plastic surface’, which served as its substrate. That phrase – accentuated fluidity – is telling. For therein we find ourselves returning to the words of the great philosopher of movement, Henri Bergson: ‘Let us unfasten the cocoon, awaken the chrysalis. Let us restore to movement its mobility, to change its fluidity, to time its duration.’ For it is only when one allows for this release that one is able to recognise the inescapability of a primal flux, life’s ‘unceasing creation’ and its ‘uninterrupted up-surge of novelty’. It is this release, this attentiveness to an ‘accentuated fluidity’ which is both the artist’s focus and the source of his infinite wonder.”