March 13 - April 30, 2015
Kaikodo is pleased to present Elegant Solutions, a special Asia Week New York exhibition, corresponding to the thirty-first edition of the Kaikodo Journal. An “elegant” solution in mathematics and engineering refers to one in which the maximum desired effect is achieved with the smallest and simplest effort, and with the least waste of materials. Here we are extending that concept to the world of art and artistic creativity. The works offered represent the elegant solutions arrived at by artists and artisans in creations ranging from religious icons and funerary sculpture to decorative accoutrement and utilitarian paraphrenalia to paintings designed for decoration, for pleasure, for edification, or as pure personal expression. How does one arrive at an elegant solution? In Chinese art, the tremendous creativity of Song dynasty potters, for example, is revealed in this exhibition by ceramics from the Cizhou kilns where the creative energy that fueled production is palpable yet today in a painted bowl that marries the perfection of a simple form with the power and economy of a swiftly painted design. A small object for use by a calligrapher could be crafted into a charming work of art such as a bamboo root carved concisely and with precision to represent a lotus leaf with realistically depicted “insect nibbles” that transform the desk article into an engaging representation of living nature. Or a sake cask, which served in the storage and transport of a beloved beverage within its black and red lacquered walls, could be fashioned in a form both grand and elegant, yet simple and perfectly streamlined. Hanging scroll and handscroll formats are elegant solutions for displaying and storing a painting while the folding screen format perfected by the Japanese provides a movable wall that is not only flexible and thus a perfect solution for organizing space but can be beautiful as well, and the folding fan format is an elegant solution par excellence, achieving maximum effect within minimal space, all accomplished with great ease by some of the greatest painters and calligraphers of the later dynasties in both China and Japan.
The exhibition includes Chinese paintings dating from the Song era to the present and primarily Edo period Japanese paintings. The works of art are in many media—exotic woods, cloisonné, bronze, pottery, porcelain and lacquer. Elegant Solutions will be on line and in the gallery from March 11 to April 30, 2015.