Tapestry in Architecture: Creating Human Spaces

December 16, 2008–February 22, 2009

Architecture can significantly influence human temperament and emotion. The connection between human feelings, art, and space is explored by contemporary artist Mitsuko Asakura, who transforms her fascination for weaving into an expressive art form, creating environments that affect the human experience.

Mitsuko Asakura was born and raised in the celebrated textile weaving district of Nishijin in Kyoto, where she continues to live and work. Asakura not only weaves her own textiles, but selects the raw materials to make the colorful, vibrant dyes she uses to tint her yarns. During the 1960s and 1970s when most tapestry artists turned to sculpture and painting, Asakura continued experimenting with design, exploring the relationship between tapestry, architecture, and human connectivity.

Impressively large in scale, with bold colorful patterns and designs, when hung on a wall, Asakura’s tapestries are essentially architectural elements. Composed of fabric yarns and masterfully hand-crafted, the tactile quality of her tapestries bring to the space a softness that is naturally lacking in the cold, hard surfaces typical of building materials, such as stone, metal, concrete, plastic and glass. Prior to designing a tapestry installation, Asakura carefully considers the physical organization of the space and the thoughts and feelings of the people who will share and interact within that space to create a soothing environment that evokes feelings of relaxation and inner peace. Although her work belongs to the genre of contemporary installation art, its underlying threads are interwoven into the fabric of the centuries-old tradition of Japan’s textile arts and architectural design. Traditional Kyoto architecture originally comprised soft, elegant interiors, which were constructed using a harmonious balance of wood, paper, lacquer, and fabric.

The exhibition features 15 tapestries, an antique Nishijin loom and other traditional tools that Mitsuko Asakura uses to accomplish her art. The artist will be on site to install the show, and a continuous video presentation depicting the artist at work will be shown. The North American tour of Mitsuko Asakura, Tapestry in Architecture is sponsored by Canon, All Nippon Airways, the Tokyo Club, Japan Airlines, Kajima Corporation, Takenaka Corporation, and Shimizu Corporation.