June 2 – October 28, 2018
Reception and Lecture June 3, 2018, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Japanese tools for the kitchen are admired as objects of beauty. They are also practical, functioning utensils for the preparation of food. Dedicated craftspeople design and produce them in materials ranging from metal and wood to stone, bamboo, reeds, grasses, ceramic, silicone, fiberglass, and plastic. These tools reflect their makers’ art, as well as the functions each object serves: producing and serving foods desired for their taste and beauty around the world. In Japan, food is a multisensory experience: me de taberu or “eat with your eyes,” as the saying goes. Aesthetic pleasure, too, applies to the tools that produce it. This “beauty in use”—yō no bi—inspires Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools.
This exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum gathers items diverse in design and function, organized around their uses in professional and domestic kitchens. Our aims? To celebrate the artistry of these works; to inspire curiosity; and, for those unfamiliar, to provide points of connection with these versatile wares. For what chef—Japanese or otherwise—could not enjoy the feel of a perfectly weighted knife, the warmth of a wood rice paddle, the glint of light off a hammered pot, and the textures and tastes of foods cut, sieved, grated, or simmered with such utensils?
Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools will demonstrate the beauty of design and use in Japanese cooking and reveal the artistry of craftsmanship in such tools as knives, whisks, ceramic, and other important items. Videos of craftspeople at work will be included, as well as the tools themselves and narratives of their use. In addition, there will be there will be a look into a contemporary home kitchen and culinary demonstration videos. The exhibition is complemented by an exquisite exhibition catalogue of the same title. Sponsored by the Caroline R. Graboys Fund, the Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund, and The Japan Foundation, New York.