Past Exhibition

life/art 04

Saraça is a type of dyed textile, originally developed in India, which is decorated with patterned floral, bird, animal, and various other kinds of motifs. The way in which the same pattern repeats and multiplies is thought to represent a life vision of infinite rebirth, like metempsychosis (the transmigration of souls). This style of dyed textile has been transmitted through the ages in both East and West, so that it has become a kind of international visual language that connects different peoples of the world. There are various theories about the origins of the word "saraça." In Sanskrit, however, "sa" means "to include within" and "raça" means "essence," so that "saraça" is thought to indicate the "inclusion of the essence."  
SARAÇA VISION focuses on the power of saraça and reconsiders it from a new viewpoint. Linking the Shiseido Gallery and the other floors of the Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, it will endeavor to transmit a message about the "rebirth of life" using the entire building as its medium. With fashion creator Sachiko Ito as general director, the project is being organized as a collaborative effort with Shiseido staff members.

In the Shiseido Gallery, the main venue, visitors will be able to see approximately two hundred works of saraça from East and West, including jinbaori (jackets or vests worn over armor in feudal Japan), dresses, ceremonial cloths, and cloth fragments. Some of them are rare, valuable works that are hardly ever made available for public viewing. Furthermore, although art exhibitions usually introduce the history of saraça from the aspect of natural history, this exhibition is distinguished by a unique spatial organization. By exhibiting saraça together with mirrors, and augmenting the combination with video images, illumination, and music, an infinite flow of time that meanders between past and future will be created, to dramatic effect. Also being displayed are enormous portrait photographs of an old Japanese woman and an old Indonesian man wearing saraça, which have been produced in collaboration with photographer Yoshihiko Ueda. These photographs present a merging of the vitality that lies hidden in the elderly and the vitality possessed by saraça, which has been handed down from generation to generation over many centuries.

In conjunction with the exhibits in the Shiseido Gallery, the first-floor Plaza is featuring window displays coordinated by a saraça motif, music evocative of the Eurasian continent, and video images of a vigorous Indonesian dance projected on its walls. Every Wednesday, it will also be the site of a dance performance by butoh artist Akiko Motofuji, who will perform wearing a saraça costume. The Plaza Shop will have original museum goods for sale, and the chefs of Shiseido Parlor and Faro Shiseido will prepare special menus inspired by saraça. Additionally, WORD Shiseido will present "WORD Friday: SARAÇA VISION Special," a special program in which dance critic Ryo Matsumoto will give a wayan (Indonesian shadow puppet theater) performance and lecture on its history (attendance limited to WORD members only).

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