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Raw Japan: Boro Blues in Lisbon

This autumn Japanese Boro patchwork robes and textiles are seen to be taking centre stage in Portugal. Two exhibitions focussing on Japanese culture and design are showing at the Museu do Design e da Moda (MUDE), Lisbon under the title RAW JAPAN, 10 October to 8 February 2015. RawJapan41 The shows aim to address topical issues such as the preservation of material resources, respect for nature, reuse or transformation of materials and the lifetime of each product; while also heralding the simplicity and intrinsic aesthetic qualities of the functional Japanese object. Boro: The Fabric of Life presents 54 indigo textile items produced from the late 18th century to mid 20th century using the boro method. As cotton use was generally reserved for use by wealthy classes, these utilitarian patchworks tend to be made from cloth scraps woven from indigenous plants such as hemp, mulberry, ramie, wisteria and nettle. Constructed by peasants for everyday use, the layers built up to achieve more resistant garments have been worn away, revealing abstract patterns and complex textures that record the passing of time. RawJapan10 This show follows a much-acclaimed London show of mounted boro at Somerset House by the Parisian Mingei Arts Gallery this Spring, as reviewed by Joss Graham in HALI 180. The other exhibition at MUDE, Naked Shapes features 200 household aluminium objects, manufactured in Japan between 1910 and 1960, collected by industrial designer Seiji Onishi and gallery owner Keiichi Sumi under the advice of graphic designer Nobuhiro Yamaguchi. RawJapan04

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