Ikebana, performance and art

Special Guest Lecturer Takaya Fujii gives students insight into contemporary work inspired by ancient Japanese tradition.
Date: 2 May 2018

International artist Takaya Fujii recently visited The Cass to give a talk about his work, combining performance, sculpture and painting inspired by the ancient tradition of Ikebana.  

Ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arrangement, often surprises the viewer in its contemporary aesthetic, despite a history of many centuries. Far from being simply decorative, Ikebana challenges western conventions in composition, symmetry and sculptural balance. In addition, the process of Ikebana is in itself part of the art. The complex philosophy behind its compositional rules makes Ikebana practice an act of careful contemplation as well as one of active decoration. An Ikebana practitioner works slowly, almost meditatively, on his/her compositions. And, of course, the product is itself a living structure, with its own natural process of blossoming and decaying.

Takaya Fujii’s body of work bridges the fields of traditional and contemporary Japanese art with western influences. The impermanent beauty of a flower or a tree leaf is often captured in his drawings and installations. Salt is the principal element of purification and longevity for his work. It is not restrained by the boundaries of his canvas and goes beyond becoming sculpture - a life performance or video. Takaya is the founder & Director of the galerie weissraum, Kyoto Weissraum, Master of Ikebana & Nihonga, "Japanese traditional Painting".

This collaboration, initiated by Senior Lecturer Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso, launches his new project, exploring the performativity of Ikebana in contemporary art installations. The project will see Jacek travel to Kyoto this Summer to research Ikebana aesthetics and apply these in a contemporary art installation at Weissraum Gallery. Jacek says "it is a joy to share Takaya's work with students and peers. His unique approach, in its contemplation of the beauty of impermanence, is both humbling and inspirational. I cannot wait to continue my collaboration with this remarkable artist."