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IBASHO is delighted to announce the Summer exhibition for 2020 which will be a group exhibition on the concept of ‘wabi sabi’.

Wabi sabi as an aesthetic concept is generally described as a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. A beauty of things modest and humble. A beauty of things unconventional.

When one asks Japanese people what wabi sabi is, it is hard for them to explain this concept. Most Japanese will understand the feeling of wabi sabi, but it is difficult for them to describe this feeling. That’s because most Japanese never learnt about wabi sabi in rational terms, since there are no books of teachers to learn it from. The seminal ‘Book of Tea’ written by Kakuzo Okakura in 1906 touches on many aspects of wabi sabi, but was written in English for a non-Japanese public.

The words wabi and sabi do not translate easily. Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society; sabi meant 'chill', 'lean' or 'withered'. Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations. Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.

The exhibition Wabi Sabi is an invitation to explore the elements of wabi sabi in the photographic works of 9 Japanese artists and 3 non-Japanese artists.

And since wabi sabi is closely connected to the tea ceremony (chado), IBASHO has included 2 Japanese ceramic artists, who not only have made matcha bowls but also vases. Shingo Ohira from Shigaraki, Japan and Naoko Sano who was born in Kyoto and now lives and works in London. We are excited to introduce them and to announce that their work can be seen at IBASHO for a longer period of time. 

​​​​​​​To read more about the concept wabi sabi, we refer to the book ‘Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers’ by Leonard Koren, which book was used for the texts on the IBASHO exhibition ‘Wabi Sabi’.