About Washi Photography and its Affiliation with the Culture of Omotogu and its Background
The preservation and restoration techniques of Japanese mounting culture of various styles, including hanging scrolls and folding screens, picture scrolls, fusuma-e (sliding door paintings), and andon (Japanese lanterns), and even fans, are attracting attention from the world art scene.
The Japan Washi Photography Association realizes that by fusing the traditional culture of Japanese tableware with the traditional culture of Japanese tableware, there is the potential for the photographic art originating in Japan to grow into a world-class industry.
The following is an explanation of how we came to this realization and the current situation.
Photographs displayed on hanging scrolls are very popular overseas as art.
With the high reputation of Japanese food and Japanese fashion, more and more people overseas are becoming interested in Japanese culture.
Among the wealthy, there seems to be a boom in the creation of Japanese-style rooms with tatami mats or tokonoma (alcove) in the room.
Since hanging scrolls can be stored in a paulownia wood box (and even in a paper box) with a mothproof scent bag, their compact preservation seems to be another reason for their popularity, and it is nice to see them becoming objects of collection as works of art.
Kakejiku are also very popular in exhibitions that are still ongoing in Russian museums, and have earned a reputation as proper works of art.
A number of prominent foreign photographers have expressed interest in creating hanging scrolls and folding screens.
We believe that it is imperative to establish a system whereby Japanese paper photographs can be printed out in Japan, mounted on hanging scrolls and folding screens, and exported overseas by having the photo data sent to Japan.
Washi photographs mounted not only as works of art but also as furnishings that can be used in daily life could become a hit product that only Japan can produce.
A French woman's comment at an international photo exhibition in Paris was the inspiration for the birth of the folding screen.
It was 2016 when Chairman Nobuaki Tanaka participated in Photo fever, an international photography exhibition held in the basement space of the Louvre Museum in Paris. A French lady who came to that venue after paying the admission fee asked us to create a partition for her photographs.
She said, "Even in Europe, where it is part of the popular culture to display a large number of paintings and photographs on the walls, it is difficult to secure a new exhibition space in Paris, where it is difficult to build new houses. "Partitions that can be installed directly on the floor can create a beautiful space that is open for parties. If the partition can be installed directly on the floor, it can create a beautiful space for parties, etc., and can hide unnecessary things, and can be folded up and stored carefully in a normal place.
I explained that the kind of partition she was referring to is called a folding screen in Japan, and comes in various sizes and forms.
This was the beginning of the idea that led to the creation of the large folding screens used in the Washi paper photographs and the idea was born in Paris.
Encounter with Kyoto's Omogu Culture
A few years later, I spent some time in Tokyo seeking a plan for a photographic folding screen, but although there were companies that made photographic prints into folding screens, I had never encountered a project to produce a photographic folding screen as a real work of art.
Through the connections of a ceramic artist, we met a traditional craftsman in Kyoto who is active internationally.
In his opinion, the photographic prints were made with sturdy handmade Japanese paper photography.
On his recommendation, we were introduced to Awagami Factory of Awa Washi paper in Tokushima.
At the same time, in order to cover the folding screen as a work of art cultivated in the tradition of Kyoto's traditional craftsmanship, we ordered B-size, custom-made thick Japanese paper from the Awa Washi Traditional Industry Hall (Awagami Factory) in Tokushima, and over a period of six months, a giant folding screen with a life-size nude photo of the artist was born. The work was born.
*Aided by a traditional craftsman, the completed photographic folding screen and other washi photographic works were exhibited in the pavilion of the ICOM International Congress of Museums, which happened to be a month-long gathering of museum and art museum officials from 138 countries in Kyoto, Japan.
The Orenburg Museum of Fine Arts in Russia asked me to exhibit in Russia, which was a stroke of good fortune.
A huge washi paper studio in Tokushima that is attracting the attention of artists from around the world.
Awagami Factory is the brand name for a comprehensive plant of Awa Washi paper that exists in Yoshinogawa City, Tokushima.
Awa Handmade Washi Merchant Cooperative Association is a group of craftsmen called "sukishi" who produce handmade washi.
Fuji Paper Mills Cooperative, which has a factory production line for comprehensive washi used for bamboo washi and construction materials.
The Awa Washi Traditional Industry Center, which offers hands-on experience in making handmade washi and exhibits materials and works of art.
It is composed of these three organizations.
Yoichi Fujimori, president of the association and chairman of the foundation, was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Silver Rays in 202 for his achievements in fostering the washi industry.
He is also a contributor to the Awagami Factory's majoring in overseas artists of various genres, partly due to his lecturing activities on washi abroad.
Presence of Mr Shiro Gogi, Director of Printing
Mr. Shiro Goji, who is also a board member of the General Incorporated Foundation of the Awagami Traditional Paper Industry Association and owner of a photo studio, is the Printing Director of Awagami Factory's washi photos.
He is in charge of IT system management at Awagami Factory and printing on washi paper at Awagami Output Service.
He utilizes his knowledge of Washi paper, silver halide printing, and digital equipment such as printers to digitally print for artists from Japan and abroad.
He has an endless number of overseas artists who visit him.
He is the key person behind the WashigraphPhoto works of the Japan Washi Photographic Society.
The work of the craftsman
The work of a table cloth artist is varied and varied according to stylistic beauty based on tradition.
A hanging scroll is composed of layers of cloth or thin Japanese paper supporting a delivered Japanese paper photographic print.
Folding screens also come in a variety of styles, large and small, but the complex process requires making the wooden frame, attaching hinges made of paper feathers to the wooden frame, binding the bones, attaching the mino, attaching the mino osae to trap layers of air, attaching the bag, attaching the sei, attaching the hinge (combination), attaching the main paper, backing paper, making the heri, finishing with the rafter and metal fitting.
What is wonderful about Japanese tableware technology is the limited use of natural materials for components, adhesives, and paints.
Since the production work is done in anticipation of future restoration work, there is very little deterioration or discoloration.
In parallel with this production work, the artist orders paulownia boxes, paper boxes, cloth baths, shipping cases, mothproof desiccants (scent bags), and so on.
Omogushi are specialists, called craftsmen, who have a deep level of understanding of various knowledge and traditions.
Composition of a washi papermaker, a mounting artist, and a printing director working together to support the photographer.
The photographer does not arrange for the ordering work to be made into a hanging scroll or folding screen.
Nobuaki Tanaka, president of the Japan Washi Photo Association, produces the entire mounting plan.
(1) Producers ask Omogu about the rules and regulations for hanging scrolls and folding screens, size. (1) The producer prepares a production plan based on the size, specifications, packaging, shipping method, and budget.
(2) The producer consults with Awagami Factory's Printing Director about the production plan and decides on the type and size of washi paper and how the images will be output.
The director gives instructions to the papermakers to produce the washi, and Awagami Factory begins production of the washi.
The producer photo-authors the photographer's data and delivers the data to the Printing Director based on the design plan.
The printing director converts the delivered data into output data.
(6) Output the image on the completed Washi paper.
(7) The printed Washi paper is sent to the table maker. The craftsman begins the mounting work.
⑧The table maker delivers the completed table work to the producer. Inspection work.