Unfolding Image – The Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo

Unfolding Image
-A Swedish-Japanese collaborative art project about the Japanese folding screen

Opening event in presence of the artists, Friday 28th of October 2022 at 18:00 – 21:00 Inaugural speech by the Swedish Ambassador Pereric Högberg at 19:00

The exhibition Unfolding Image presents the final result of a cultural exchange project between the Japanese folding screen (Byōbu) master Koto Kataoka and five contemporary artists residing in Sweden. Kataoka is a third generation craftsman who runs Kataoka Byoubu in Tokyo.

The first part of the project took place in Stockholm in September of 2021, when Kataoka visited Sweden to create five unique folding screens in dialogue with each of the participating artists. The work was shown in an exhibition at the Swedish Artists Association in Stockholm. This year, the Swedish artists have traveled to Japan to continue the collaboration and make new work together with Kataoka in his studio, and to present the entire project at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo.

The foundation for the screens has been built by Kataoka according to the artists’ sketches and demands. Each artist has then investigated different means of transferring his or her practice to the format of the folding screen. The exhibition displays the five very distinctive ways in which the artists have interpreted and also let themselves be influenced by this traditional Japanese craft.

The Swedish artists participating in the project have been carefully selected based on the character of their respective practices and the potentiality for an interesting meeting with the form and tradition of the Japanese folding screen. The work of Inez Jönsson, Karl Patric Näsman and Ylva Carlgren strongly relate to a sense of craftsmanship, in their choice of material and in their repetitive, time-consuming and meticulous methods. Similarly, there is a relation between the work of Juri Markkula and Martin Kozlowski. The digital aesthetic and industrial manufacturing process of Markkula by using different machines and tools meets Kozlowski’s analogue paintings on canvas and paper, informed by a layering technique that finds inspiration in digital image editing.

With deep respect and consideration for this Japanese craft tradition, the presented works aim to explore the folding screen in a contemporary Swedish context.