Japandí: shared aesthetics and influences
September 25 - October 3, 2021

Masakazu Kobayashi and MArkku Kosonen

browngrotta arts is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences, exploring common approaches shared between Japanese and Scandinavian cultures through art. The show will feature 39 contemporary fiber and ceramic artists from Japan, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. It runs from September 25 through October 3, 2021.


Opening and Artist Reception: Saturday, September 25th: 11 to 6

Sunday, September 26th: 11 to 6 

Monday, September 27th through Saturday October 2nd: 10 to 6

Sunday, October 3rd: 11 to 6

276 Ridgefield Rd

Wilton, CT

Advanced time reservations are mandatory.
Covid protocols will be followed.

Japandi is a hybrid union of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetic approaches that are appreciated for their exceptional craftsmanship, simplicity and minimalism, reverence for nature and natural, sustainable materials, and the beauty of embracing imperfection. Fiber and modern craft artists uniquely embody principal elements of what is currently termed Japandi style - from their use of natural materials and neutral color palettes to the fundamentally “slow art” process of hand craftsmanship. The core of their processes and materials are invoked with an intrinsic sense of contemplation, tranquility, and harmony that reverberates through their work and into the spaces the artworks inhabit. Unique basket forms may be made of bamboo, willow, cedar, or their earthly “scraps” such as branches, grasses, bark, and twigs. Materials come from regionally or locally sourced plant life or even backyard cultivation. Works made of soft materials such as linen, cotton, or wool, handwoven in meticulous detail provide textural counterpoints. Both cultures make room for reuse, artful imperfection, and comfortable simplicity, through the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi and the Scandinavian idea of hygge.

Ulla Maija Vikman and Jiro Yonezawa

To explore these approaches, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences will feature more than three dozen artists from six countries whose works are complementary in approach and execution. Birgit Birkkjaer (Denmark) has made baskets of black linen and Japanese tatami paper yarn, black and hand-dyed with rust, using a rya technique, known in Scandinavia since the Viking Age and popular from the 50s through the 70s with Danish/Finnish artist collectives. “So, the baskets have roots in both Japan and Scandinavia," she explains. Jin-Sook So (Korea) studied in Japan and lived in Sweden for decades, where her Japanese-influenced palette has grown lighter and richer in response to Sweden’s changeable light and landscape. Markku Kosonen (Finland) integrated nature into his works and empahsized working with wood as do artists in Japan, subverting the symbolism and traditional utility of willow to create new works and/or functions. In 1959, Tamiko Kawata, created glassware that was exhibited in Tokyo alongside work from well-known Swedish designer Stig Lindberg. In these years, she regularly discussed the affinities between Scandinavian and Japanese craft works with colleagues, aiming to answer such questions as, Why do both cultures appreciate skillful craft works? Why do we produce them with a similar approach to understanding the skills, the natural material and the simplicity we share?” Grethe Wittrock observed similar sensibilities when she traveled to Japan to study with Japanese paper makers and with master dyer Shihoko Fukumoto in Kyoto. “I started to uncover what Nordic sensibilities are by living abroad,” she has observed. "I lived in Kyoto, and saw an aesthetic in Japanese design similar to the Nordic tradition. You could say that there are an agreement that less is more. As they say in the Nordic countries 'even less is even more.’”

top picture: Masakazu Kobayashi, Markku Kosonen
bottom picture Ulla-Maija Vikman, Jiro Yonezawa

Jane Balsgaard (Denmark) Toshio Sekiji (Japan)
Birgit Birkkjær (Denmark) Hisako Sekijima (Japanese American)
Gjertrud Hals (Norway) Kay Sekimachi (United States)
Norie Hatakeyama (Japan) Naoko Serino (Japan)
Ane Henriksen (Denmark) Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan)
Agneta Hobin (Finland) Jin-Sook So (Korea/Sweden)
Kazue Honma (Japan) Grethe Sørensen (Denmark)
Mutsumi Iwasaki (Japan) Kari Stiansen (Denmark)
Kiyomi Iwata (Japan) Noriko Takamiya (Japan)
Tomiko Kawata (Japan) Hideho Tanaka (Japan)
Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan) Tsuruko Tanikawa (Japan)
Naomi Kobayashi (Japan) Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan)
Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan) Jun Tomita (Japan)
Markku Kosonen (Finland) Eva Vargo (Sweden)
Kyoko Kumai (Japan) Ulla-Maija Vikman (Finland)
Åse Ljones (Norway) Merja Winqvist (Finland)
Kari Lønning (Norwegian/American) Grethe Wittrock (Denmark)
Keiji Nio (Japan) Jiro Yonezawa (Japan)
Mia Olsson (Sweden) Masako Yoshida (Japan)
Gudrun Pagter (Denmark)