Written on June 14, 2013
I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to show my collection of selected boro pieces at Domaine de Boisbuchet in Lessac (Charente), France. The show opened 8 June and it will run all summer, until 15 September.
The show occupies five galleries that comprise the first floor, or belle etage, of the domaine’s chateau. Each gallery represents a theme that describes the overall concept of boro. The first room, a circular one, above, introduces the visitor to an understanding of what boro is, and when it was made. In this gallery only one piece is shown, a magnificent yogi from the late nineteenth century.
The second gallery, above and below, attempts to give an understanding of the historical context that produced boro garments and textiles. The furoshiki in the upper left hand corner of the photo, below, was lent by Naohito Shikama and the child’s kimono, below, was lent by Amy Katoh.
The third gallery, above and below, focuses on the nature of Japanese aesthetics. Even though boro garments were not created to fulfill the requirements of such esoteric philosophies as wabi sabi or shibui, we can now view these works through the lens of these essentially Japanese points of view. Mottainai, the Japanese principle which cautions not to waste, is very much a part of the making of boro. Gallery Kei lent the rare, 19th century silk and cotton sakiori shikimono seen on the large, white base, below.
The red and yellow sakiori hantens are lent by Amy Katoh.
To add a contemporary link to the concept of boro, in this same gallery we are showing five textile works by Bangladeshi women which were lent by architect Anna Heringer. Anna has encouraged a group of Bangladeshi ladies to take their traditional, recycled cotton fabrics and revive them by turning them into wearable garments to sell for profit. In this way, Heringer is hoping to establish a way out from the dangerous working conditions for Bangladeshis which have been so much in the news, while, at the same time, granting them their own identity and earning power.
Equally, Mathias Schwartz-Clauss, Boisbuchet’s artistic director and my co-curator on this exhibition, was the force who breathed life into this project, and without whom, we would not be looking at these ingeniously conceived and installed galleries.
We were very fortunate to have worked with four fellowship recipients from Parsons The New School for Design: Christopher Koelsch, Alana Jiwa, Kamala Murali and Andres Gonzalez-Bode.
And here is the entire team which created this exhibition:
Mathias Schwartz-Clauss and Stephen Szczepanek
We would like to thank the lenders for their generous support:
Alexander von Vegesack
The exhibition design has been developed and realized together with graduates of Parsons The New School for Design:
Andrés González Bode
Bridget O’Rourke and Alexander von Vegesack initiated the cooperation between Parsons The New School for Design and the Domaine de Boisbuchet / CIRECA.
Executed with the kind help of:
Carlos Guisasola Suárez
Laura Drouet and Lucie Panis-Jones
Boisbuchet’s Summer Workshops staff 2013
Marie de Cossette, Independent PR, Paris
(Boro – The Fabric of Life is an exhibition of: CIRECA / Domaine de Boisbuchet, 2013)