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EXHIBITION

Junko Oki

sense and sweetness

9/Jun/2018 - 21/Jul/2018

sense and sweetness 01, 2018
Photo by Keizo Kioku
© Junko Oki
Courtesy of KOSAKU KANECHIKA
sense and sweetness 02, 2018
Photo by Keizo Kioku
© Junko Oki
Courtesy of KOSAKU KANECHIKA
KOSAKU KANECHIKA is pleased to present Junko Oki’s solo exhibition “sense and sweetness” from June 9th to July 21st.

Junko Oki stitches embroidery into old cloth and scrap fabric in an intricate and time-consuming way, as if engraving both the stitches and her own lived time into the accumulated narratives and chronologies of the material. Each piece has its own story, spun into works replete with a sense of new life, and new serendipities.

Oki previously worked in product design. One day, her daughter gave her a present of an embroidered bag using old Liberty print cloth that Oki’s late mother had treasured, created with very bold and liberated sensitivity. That impetus led Oki to start her artistic practice, using her mother’s former sewing tools and cloths.

Oki sews old cloths together and applies stitching in a time-consuming process, before finally washing the work with soap and drying it. Old unwashed cloths turn the water black, and colored cloths display deeper coloring around their stitches. Oki calls this process “participating”, or “blending in”. In this way, the history of each cloth and the memories of the hands are evoked and given new life within Oki’s work. Each piece is made without under-drawings, and through the thinly threated stitches the images spread over the fabric with strong, vivid expressions that amaze the viewer. The exhibition will feature 12 new works.



About This Exhibition

Oki contributes this statement for the exhibition:

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After sleeping for 10 hours, bright spring had arrived outside. On my desk the piece I was working on throughout the night was left just as it was when I stopped working, when I could no longer fight against drowsiness. It’s the same as the hollow of a pillow or the wrinkles of bedsheets. I wondered why I kept adding stitches. Did I want to leave behind traces of my own time? I wondered how many words would come to me. I want to entrust all the meanings I have gathered to my hands.
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Time is at the core of Oki’s practice. The time contained by the old cloths, the time of the people who had owned them, and the time of Oki’s numerous stitches. All of these times have their own different stories.

In Oki’s work the time and stories are given forms and speak to us. The fiber of the cloths and her embroidery stitches intertwine and create something new. The long stretches of time passing are turned into visible and tangible forms to be preserved.

Surely all human activities may be underpinned by such things. Without the traces of time passed, our lives would be dry and dull, and we might be lost, with no clear route onwards. Oki states that she loves a passage from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke:

One should wait and gather meaning and sweetness a whole life long--and as long a life as possible--then, at the very end, one might possibly write ten lines that are any good.
For the memories are not what's essential. It's only when they become blood within us, become our nameless looks and signs that are no longer distinguishable from ourselves―not until then does it happen that, in a very rare moment, the first word of a verse rises in their midst and goes forth from among them. 
(The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (Die Auf zeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated from the German by William Needham)

The exhibition will feature approximately 12 new works, focusing on Oki’s new series “sense and sweetness”. Time and experience take forms, and poetry is born. Viewers are invited to encounter the richness of these poems.



Junko Oki

Junko Oki was born in 1963 in Urawa city. She currently lives and works in Kamakura city. Her major solo exhibitions include “Recycle” (ARTS & SCIENCE Aoyama, Tokyo, 2009), “Tatoo” (Gallery B, Kanagawa, 2013), “gris gris” (DEE’S HALL, Tokyo, 2016), “junko oki” (Office Baroque, Brussels, 2017), and her major group exhibitions include “Collection 1: Nous – Sewing and Living” at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2016). In 2014 Oki published her art book PUNK (Bungeishunju), a collection of photographic works. Her work is included in the public collection of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. This is her second exhibition at KOSAKU KANECHIKA following her first last year. She will participate in the Yamagata Biennale in September.