tom sachs brings his reinterpreted 'tea ceremony' to tokyo opera city art gallery
 

tom sachs brings his reinterpreted 'tea ceremony' to tokyo opera city art gallery

tom sachs and his studio in new york has devoted tens of thousands of hours of painstaking research and craft to the ritual of tea, an extraordinary expression of human culture that draws from ancient traditions in japan. since 2012, sachs has been reinterpreting ‘chanoyu’ — the traditional japanese tea ceremony — through contemporary elements, materials, tools, and techniques. his ‘tea ceremony’ has travelled to the yerba buena center for the arts in san francisco, and the nasher sculpture center in dallas, but always had the aim to exhibit in japan. now, at tokyo opera city art gallery, this completely immersive and interactive environment can finally be seen in the country that inspired it.


bonsai, 2016 /stupa, 2013
image © tom sachs, courtesy of tomio koyama gallery

 

 

conceived for and organized by the noguchi museum in new york in 2016, ‘tom sachs: tea ceremony’ now opens at tokyo opera city art gallery. the installation comprises complete inner and outer gardens, a handmade plywood tea house, a functional lavatory based on the boeing 747, a koi pond, and a variety of gates.


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono

 

 

in pursuit of the ‘true development of an old tradition’, as stated by isamu noguchi, sachs has also produced a complete, alternative material culture — from bowls and ladles, scroll paintings, vases, and bronzes, to a motorized tea whisk, a shot clock, and an electronic brazier. sachs’ obsession with and reverence for tea cultured are further articulated by objects such as a meiji-style bronze lobster welded from scrap tool parts, as well as the more than 500 perfectly imperfect chawan (bowls) sachs has sculpted — a selection of which are also on view.


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono

 

 

‘traditional tea ceremony was refined over many years, reached a mature state, was codified, and then, like many cultural phenomena that survive an originating generation, more or less stopped developing,‘ says dakin hart, senior curator at the noguchi museum. ‘it was essentially a 16th century fad, which became a full-fledged culture because it captured lasting values in universal experiences. tea celebrates hospitality, reinforces the development of community through ritual, creates a holistic but intimate sense of connection to the world in fundamental combinations of earth, air, fire, and water, and encourages quiet reflection. tom sachs’ version is a sublimely rich and deeply moving attempt to inspire new generations and new audiences to embrace those values, and the culture that supports them, by way of exploring the infinite space within.’


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono

 

 

the exhibition will also feature tom sachs’ film tea ceremony, a celebration of ritual that extends the artist’s two-decade-long absorption in the development of complex subcultures centered on labor. it will be shown continuously in a small quarter-geodesic dome theater made uniquely for tokyo opera city art gallery. furthermore, the institution presents a series of public demonstrations of the tea ceremony throughout the duration of the exhibition.


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono


tom sachs ‘tea ceremony’ installation view
photo by tadashi ono


ishidoro, 2015
image © tom sachs, courtesy of tomio koyama gallery


kabuto, 2015
image © tom sachs, courtesy of tomio koyama gallery


shoburo, 2012 
image © tom sachs, by genevieve hanson


pam. 2013
image © tom sachs, courtesy of tomio koyama gallery

 

 

project info:

tom sachs: tea ceremony
dates: april 20 ‒ june 23, 2019
location: tokyo opera city art gallery
hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (to 20:00 on fridays and saturdays / entry up to 30 minutes before closing)
closed on mondays (tuesday if the monday is a public holiday, open on tuesday 30 april)
admission: adult 1,400 [1,200] yen / university and high school students 1,000 [800] yen / junior high and under: free
organisers: tokyo opera city cultural foundation / executive committee of tom sachs: tea ceremony in tokyo
special sponsor: nippon life insurance company
sponsor: beams co., ltd.
cooperation: sogo development co., ltd. / galerie thaddaeus ropac / vito schnabel projects / tokyo studio co., ltd.
coordination: tomio koyama gallery

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