Shigeo Kubota

Article Bio Works Merits Projects Images www
crossroads:
beauty, harmony, nature, wind
genre(subgenre):
Design and Crafts (textiles)
Visual Arts (installation art, sculpture)
region:
Asia, Eastern, Europe, Western
country/territory:
Japan, England (UK)
created on:
June 17, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since November 8, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
touring contact:
information provided by:

Article

The language of yarn

Born in 1947 into a family of traditional weavers, it perhaps comes as no surprise that Shigeo Kubota too decided to train as a weaver. Using humble materials and the most basic of techniques, he creates three-dimensional structures. Fundamental to his work are ideas of contradictions and of opposites that are unified into a harmonious whole. His emphasis is on a simple approach that creates a complex result and he often finds inspiration in nature.
Born in 1947 into a family of traditional weavers, it perhaps comes as no surprise that Shigeo Kubota too decided to train as a weaver. Using humble materials, sisal for the weft and ramie as the warp, he employs plain weave, the most basic of techniques to create long, thin woven strips, which are then sewn together to form complex three-dimensional structures.

Finding inspiration in the sounds and rhythms of nature, Kubota seeks to express the ineffable in concrete form, drawing on elements of space, light and shadow to achieve the desired effect. The emphasis on simplicity is also reflected in his palette, which includes a series of opposite colours: red and green, black and white, and occasionally blue and yellow.

In 2001, Kuboto participated in the successful ´Textural Space´ project in the UK, which was originated by the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College and partly funded by Visiting Arts. The project featured thirteen leading contemporary Japanese textile artists and the final exhibition displayed large-scale work that explored, in innovative ways, the three-dimensional potential of textiles within an installation format.

In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, curator Lesley Millar locates the roots of Kuboto´s unfussy style in his family´s craft. She writes, ´Born into a family of traditional weavers, the integrity of his approach is demonstrated by his belief that the structure of the woven cloth is the most important factor in realising the finished work. It is that dichotomy between the fundamental process of weaving and the complexity of the sewn structure which governs the outcome.´

Kuboto´s contribution to the show included two pieces, ´Echo of the Wind No. X´ and ´Woven Corridor - From Italy´. Usually working on a cloth loom, Kubota specially built a frame loom for the former and used a tightly spun sisal yarn, which has particular light reflecting qualities. Millar describes the organic nature of his working process: ´Using the movement of the warp as he worked, he allowed the process and the materials to influence the outcome, exploiting the richness and diversity residing in what he refers to as ´the language of yarn´.

Fundamental to Shigeo Kubota´s work is, as Millar points out, ´the idea of contradiction, of opposites, which eventually come together as a harmonious whole´. The paradox of ´Echo of the Wind No. X´ lies, she says, in ´the wish to make visible that which is invisible (space), the shadow being as important within the work as the light´.

´Woven Corridor - From Italy´ was a floor-standing installation, which was inspired by Italian architecture and which thus marks a new phase in his work. During a stay in Italy in 1999, the artist had been very impressed by the churches and cathedrals he visited, and the specific dynamic structure of the buildings.

Millar again: ´The particular geometry and perspective, the rich colours and the innate spirituality within these places of worship have inspired this work. The gold warp brings together the two cultures, not only referring to the interior of the churches but also it is another use of light, the light within and the light which is drawn from the shadows´.

Shigeo Kubota was trained at Kyoto Municipal Art University. He has had solo shows in Japan and the UK and has participated in numerous group shows in Japan, Korea, USA, Australia and Europe. He has won important prizes for his works, such as the Grand Prize at the International Art Exhibition Tenri Biennale and the Special Prize at the Osaka Triennale, both in 1998.

Source: Based on texts by Lesley Millar in the ´Textural Space´ catalogue and website.
Author: Diana Yeh, Visiting Arts

Bio

Shigeo Kubota was born in 1947. He studied at Kyoto Municipal Art University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971 and with a Master of Arts in 1973. He now works as a professor at the Seian College of Art and Design in Japan. He has had solo shows in Japan and the UK and has participated in numerous group shows in Japan, Korea, USA, Australia and Europe.

Works

SELECTED COMMISSIONS

Exhibition / Installation,
2003
Kameido Station Building Tokyo Asahi Plaza Hotel Osaka Kogajuin University Tokyo Sony Technical Centre Kanagawa Kurito Building Co. Ltd. Kyoto Hotel Hakuunkaku Gunma, North Point Golf Club Hokaido Hanshin Racecourse Hyogo P.S. East Shinagawa Building, Tokyo Tokyo Welfare Centre, Société Generale Bank Tokyo ZEE King Co. Ltd. Hong Kong

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Exhibition / Installation,
2003
Museum Bellerive, Zurich, Switzerland The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA The Art Institute of Chicago, USA The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo Kyoto Sogoshiryokan, Kyoto, Osaka Prefecture

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

Exhibition / Installation,
2003
2001 ´Textural Space´, Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College, UK 1999 ´The Genealogy of Craft Objects´, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo 1999 ´The 20th Century Textile Artist´, The Art Institute of Chicago, USA 1999 ´Kyoto´s Dyeing & Weaving Exhibition´, Nakatomi Contemporary Crafts Museum 1998 Osaka Triennale 1998, Sculpture 1998 ´Imaginations ´98´´ Gastuiskapel, Poperinge, Belgium 1998 ´Folding´ Japanese Miniatures´ Canberra Museum Australia 1996 Osaka Triennale 1996, Sculpture 1995 ´Soft Sculpture´, Dong-ah Art Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1995 Osaka Triennale 1995, Painting 1995 ´Japanese Studio Crafts: Tradition & The Avant-Garde´, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

Exhibition / Installation,
2003
1998 Gallery Maronie, Kyoto/Wacoal Ginza Art Space, Tokyo 1997 Wacoal Ginza Art Space, Tokyo 1997 The Harmony Contrasts, Edinburgh College of Art, UK 1996 Gallery Maronie, Kyoto 1995 Gallery Maronie, Kyoto/Wacoal Ginza Art Space, Tokyo

Merits

AWARDS

1998 Osaka Triennale 1998, Sculpture, Special Prize
1998 International Art Exhibition Tenri Biennale, Grand Prize
1996 Osaka Triennale 1996, Painting, Special Prize
1986 38th Kyoto Art Exhibition, Supreme Prize
1985 New Talent Prize from Kyoto Municipality
1983/84 Agency for Cultural Affairs Overseas Fellowship in USA
1982 3rd Japan New Crafts Exhibition, Kyoto Prefectural Governor´s Award
1981 35th Kyoto Art & Craft Exhibition, Grand Prize
1975 29th Kyoto Art & Craft Exhibition, New Talent Prize
1973 27th Kyoto Art & Craft Exhibition, Grand Prize
1973 25th Kyoto Art Exhibition, First Prize

RESIDENCY
1997 Study and solo exhibition in Edinburgh under Artist-in Residence scheme ?Art-Ex?

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Textural Space

Contemporary Japanese Textile Art

(01 April 01 - 31 December 01)

Www

Textural Space

Website of ´Textural Space´ exhibition, 2001, originated by the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College

Shigeo Kubota

Artist´s biography
images
Woven Corridor from Italy