Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kodama (Return to me) by Yuko Fujita e.g.etal

Kodama (Return to me) by Yuko Fujita is now open at e.g.etal.

This exhibition is part of the State of Design Festival Look.Stop.Shop program.

As exhibition designer for Kodama (Return to me) I had a number of briefs to respond to.
The most significant being to create a display within a retail environment which encompasses both Yuko Fujita's concepts and intentions as well as responding to the theme of sustainable design which is the theme of the State of Design Festival.

After a number of concepts designs were put forward, two were singled out and further developed, and the end result is the exhibition on display today.

What became important to me with this project was to create a display that was very simple, yet also very supportive of the work not only on a physical level but also encouraged  a quiet reflection on the themes that informed the creation of Yuko's pieces.

One of the ways that I attempted to do this was by creating a powerpoint of images that is projected onto a panel in the entrance of the store.
Another was to create a vitrine type display of wooden objects that were the source material for Yuko's jewellery. This is the first display unit that you pass as you enter the store. Across the glass surface I asked Yuko to write in Japanese the meaning of Kodama. The text being important as it references not only Yuko's heritage but also that of the concept of Kodama, a return back to the original, and an honouring of that process.



The powerpoint is the first thing that you see as you walk into the gallery space.
This flickering display of disparate images were  gleaned from Yuko Fugita's private collection of photo's of the natural world. I also included photos of the wooden objects which were the inspiration and source material that her jewellery pieces are made from. Mixed in with these images are photos taken by Steph Williams of Yuko's workshop and work in progress as well as images taken by Steph and myself of the jewellery being worn on the body.

The intention of this exhibition is best described by the artist when she states that:

I am attracted to natural materials such as paper, cotton, wood, silk, wool and leather. I see individual, unique character and warmth in those materials. I think they become more attractive when they are dented, stained, wonky, discoloured, stretched and scratched because it gives me a feeling of their life and history.
I see many wooden objects that have passed their prime or have fallen out of use, having been replaced by our ever-changing consumer society. I still see the life in these objects and thought that I can give new life to them again.
The title Kodama has double meaning in Japanese. One means “tree spirits” and the other meaning is “echo” (sound refection). It is said that the reason you hear echo in the forest is that the spirits of tree is responding the sound you made.
My process for the work in KODAMA (return to me) was like communicating with these existing materials. I see the objects and they respond to me through their shape, color and texture to bring form to each item. I transform them into imaginary plants, creatures, and habitats which they may have belonged to somewhere in the past.


text taken from an interview with Yuko on the e.g.etal blog


here is a small selection of images that are projected within the space















My response to the theme of sustainability was to create a display unit that is re-usable, not only for further exhibitions within the store, but also that it can be re configured in a number of different ways. The unit can also be re assembled in smaller or larger configurations. It can also be used horizontally instead of vertically (the panel can be used as tables on trestle legs). So all in all it is a dynamic display unit!

 After the concept was approved, Wil Goodsir designed the unit responding to all of these criteria, and the unit itself was made by Andy Otto and his assistant Art.

The second constructed component to this display that I had made were a series of wooden boxes that hold a series of works as well as suggested concepts. I deliberately designed them so that the work sat at different levels within each box.
I find that with work that is hung on a wall that the act of looking is a very different experience to that where you have to engage with the object by going right up to it (as in within a box). Space and the body come into play.
To look within a box is a different process of discovery and engagement with objects/artefacts. There is an intimacy involved in this act. And it is this way of seeing that lends itself to jewellery scale and related objects. The body is brought into question.

Two of the boxes hold a necklace each. A third box holds a collection of wooden objects,Yuko's source material, as well as one of her photos, thereby creating a link to the powerpoint and front entrance of the gallery. The fourth boxes holds a mirror, with the meaning of Kodama writing across the surface.


The title Kodama has double meaning in Japanese. One means “tree spirits” and the other meaning is “echo” (sound refection). It is said that the reason you hear echo in the forest is that the spirits of tree is responding the sound you made.
My process for the work in KODAMA (return to me) was like communicating with these existing materials. I see the objects and they respond to me through their shape, color and texture to bring form to each item. I transform them into imaginary plants, creatures, and habitats which they may have belonged to somewhere in the past.                                                           Yuko Fujita


I do not have good images of the display at the moment, when I do I will post them.

Kodama (Reurn to me)
by Yuko Fujita

14 -31 July e.g.etal



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