Sunday, 6 May 2012
Katagami Style" exhibition at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum over the weekend. Katagami is the art and craft of cutout paper stencils – originally used to imprint patterns on leather and kimono. For many patterns "cutout stencil" is an understatement – there's an obsessional attention to fine detail. The results are often superbly impressive. The exhibition then tracks the influence of katagami patterns, under Japonisme, on western art from the later 19th century, where its use and influence also extended to Art Nouveau, glassware, furniture etc. Perhaps the exhibition is a little too extensive (many of the European and US rooms are repetitive and could be condensed) but the point of the exhibition is presumably to be comprehensive. As a viewer you may want a balance between comprehensive and informative. But under that comprehensive approach you can pick standouts, whether original stencils and kimono patterns in Japan or, say, William Morris designs in the UK.