“Chashitsu” – Japanese Tea Room: Asia Week New York 2019

13 - 23 March 2019

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Asia Week New York, Onishi Gallery is proud to present a unique new exhibition to Western audiences, “Chashitsu” – Japanese Tea Room. This exciting new show focuses on ceramic and metal work pieces specifically necessary for the Japanese tea ceremony tradition. With the goal of recreating a contemporary Japanese tea room, this exhibition will not only feature the material creations required for the ceremony, but will also include a live demonstration of the special tea ceremony. In addition to our gei artwork, Akari lamps from The Noguchi Museum illuminate the chashitsu. This collaboration with the Museum creates a perfect environment for a Japanese tea room in New York City.

Shining a light on the beauty of the material manifestation of the tea ceremony are six stunning Japanese artists: Sako Ryuhei and Hata Shunsai III, working in metal; Ohi Chozaemon V and Ohi Chozaemon VI, working in ceramics; Noda Akiko, working in glass; and KISUI, a calligrapher. Sako Ryuhei is known for creating pieces using mokume-gane, a Japanese metal technique that dates back to the 17th century. Bonding together paper-thin layers of differently-colored alloyed metal sheets, Sako Ryuhei creates contemporary pieces that have earned his artwork a place in the permanent public collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. His angular vases highlight the tension between the delicacy and strength of metal. Hata Shunsai III carries on his family’s tradition of making tea kettles, but incorporates contemporary design elements with time-honored traditional techniques. His subtly decorated vessels balance the sturdiness of metal in their form, with the fine detail of perfectly polished features in ornamentation.

The remaining four artists exhibit daring work in their own media—ceramic, glass, and calligraphy—that equally and distinctly challenge assumptions about the material through innovative design and use. Bridging ordinary functionality with extraordinary artistry, these pieces elevate the Japanese tea ceremony to astonishing heights. Visitors to this exhibition will have the opportunity to realize the power of both the physical and ritual elements of the Japanese tea ceremony as refined aesthetics and creative intention come together in uniquely beautiful form.