Museum  June 1, 2018  Chandra Noyes

‘Bamboo’ Brings Together Tradition and Innovation at CAFAM

Courtesy of the Cotsen Collection Photo: Susan Einstein

Honma Hideaki, Basketry Sculpture; “Sign of Wind”, 2002

The versatile ways contemporary artists use bamboo is explored in a new exhibition at the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) in Los Angeles. Japanese bamboo weaving is an art form that dates back centuries. A uniquely challenging medium, bamboo can be bent, tied, woven, plaited and dyed in a range of techniques that artisans have developed and passed down through generations of masters. Traditionally used for fine functional objects like baskets, since the 20th century, artists have become increasingly experimental, creating more sculptural works.

The works in ‘Bamboo’ show this progression, with objects ranging from functional to fantastical. The inclusion of a large-scale installation by Akio Hizume’s “Fibonacci Tunnel” (2018), takes this to new heights. Blending architecture, traditional weaving and construction techniques, and geometric principles, the installation is meant for visitors to walk through and interact with.

Courtesy of the artist

Akio Hizume, Site-specific installation; “Fibonacci  Tunnel,” 2018

While Hizume’s “Fibonacci Tunnel” is impressive in size and construction, the smaller works in the show are also inspiring. The sensuous, organic forms show the capabilities of bamboo: it is supple yet strong, and evocative in both complex construction and simple, elegant designs. All of these works show how creating bamboo objects, once a craft created out of necessity, continues to grow as a diverse art form, encompassing many possibilities.

Kajiwara Aya, Spiral Pattern Flower Basket, 2014
Courtesy of Tai Modern. Photo: Tai Modern

Kajiwara Aya, Spiral Pattern Flower Basket, 2014

Fujitsuka Shosei, Bamboo Basketry Sculpture; “Winding”, 1983
Courtesy of the Cotsen Collection. Photo: Susan Einstein

Fujitsuka Shosei, Bamboo Basketry Sculpture; “Winding”, 1983

Maeda Chikubosai I Hanakago; Flower Arranging  Basket, 2002
Courtesy of the Cotsen Collection. Photo: Pat Pollard

Maeda Chikubosai I Hanakago; Flower Arranging  Basket, 2002

Bamboo is on view at CAFAM through September 9, 2018. For more information visit http://www.cafam.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.