Stitch by Stitch at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jul 17, 2009 / 1 comments

Stitch by Stitch; Traces I Made with Needle and Thread

an exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Saturday, July 18-Sunday, September 27, 2009

The word “Stitch” in the exhibition title refers to the act of working in needle and thread. What does “stitches” mean to you?

For many, what “stitches” calls to mind is handicrafts, needle art, or perhaps traditional embroidery or embroidery found on ethnic clothing. The work included in this exhibition will very likely confound those expectations.

The artists presented here have chosen needle and thread as the medium in which to fix their times and memories or to explore their inner selves, traced in lines quite distinct from those possible in oil paintings or drawings. To stitch is to build up a work by means of the stitch-by-stitch decisions through which the artist achieves self expression. Because these artists work in materials familiar to all of us, we can appreciate and empathize with the physical sensation of their work and the time and concentration they have poured into creating it. Stitch by stitch, these artists continually surprise us with their innovative means of expression and offer us the experience of a new joy in the act of seeing.

The setting for this exhibition, the Teien Art Museum, is especially significant, for each of the galleries in this museum, which was originally built as a private residence, retains its own character. The placement of these installations, through which the artists have raveled up their own creative worlds, in these distinctive galleries adds an extra dimension to the works.


Pick Up Stitches: Work it out

(A program available for museum visitors, free of charge; reservations not required)
Looking at the exhibition may inspire you create something with needle and thread. Please proceed to the informal workshop corner, equipped with thread, fabric, and tools, that the museum has provided, and give it a try.
Not sure what to make? Try embroidering some of the small pieces Zon Ito has provided. While it’s hard to imagine what the finished design will be from looking at the pieces themselves, each will become part of one of his works. He plans to stitch them all together to create the finished piece.

At the multi-purpose room in upper mezzanine

Date: 20 July (Mon), 3 August (Mon), 10 August (Mon)
31 August (Mon), 7 September (Mon), 21 September (Mon)
Hour: 13 :00—17 :30 (Except 10 August; 15:00—19:30)
*Zon Ito will participate on 21 September.

The Stitch by Stitch Dress Code Discount
Our popular dress code discount, launched as a modest experiment to make our exhibitions more accessible through our visitors’ own participation in them, continues. The dress code varies with the content of each exhibition. For Stitch by Stitch, visitors who are wearing embroidered clothing are eligible for a ¥100 discount. (This discount cannot be combined with other discounts.)
We particularly welcome visitors who are wearing hand-embroidered garments, since we hope that they will view the work in the exhibition while sharing the feelings of the person who stitched all those stitches, investing all that time in creating them, one by one. Machine embroidery is, however, also eligible for the discount. Please note that simple stitching on jeans or jackets or names embroidered on suit jackets are not eligible.


Adults 1000(800)Yen
College Students〔includes all majors〕 800(640)Yen
Elementary, Middle & High School Students 500(400)Yen
Seniors (65 and over with ID) 500(400)Yen

*( )are rates for groups of 20 or more
*Those with physical or mental disabilities and their attendants are free of charge.
*We are to welcome school visits (attending in Tokyo, high school and under) with accompanying teachers without admission fee. Please apply to the museum office beforehand.
*Senior (Over 65) visitors are not charged on the third Wednesday of each month (19 August, 16 September).

Organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Japan Association of Art Museums)
With the patronage of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Sponsored by Lion Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Funding provided by the Japan Arts Fund
With cooperation from Takumi, Inc., and DMC KK.
Annual sponsorship has been provided by Toda Corporation and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum used to be the residence of Prince Asaka, the eighth son of Prince Kuni, who lived here with his princess Nobuko, the eighth daughter of Emperor Meiji. The house was completed in 1933, and today it is largely as it was then. After the war it was put to various temporary uses, serving at one time as the official residence of the foreign minister and at another time as a state guest house.

Then, half a century after it was built, the Prince Asaka Residence was given a new lease of life as a museum run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture (Tokyo-to Rekishi Bunka Zaidan), established by the metropolitan government. The Prince Asaka Residence opened its gates as the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum on October 1, 1983.

This building preserves for the modern viewer the Art Deco style which took the European art world by storm in the 1920's and 30's. The principal parts were designed by French designer Henri Rapin (1873-1939), and many of the decorative features to be found inside were imported from France and other foreign countries. However, the basic plan of the building and some parts of interior decoration were undertaken by architects of the Imperial Household Department, adding an authentically Japanese feel to the Art Deco style.
Unlike most museums, this one is itself an art treasure. It calls for a critical apreciation which recognizes the spiritual relationship between exhibit and venue. Surrounded by a green and spacious park, the museum is bleesed with an environment that allows one to enjoy the meeting of nature, architecture and art. It is this meeting which gives the museum its name --- for"teien" means "park" or "garden" in Japanese. We sincerely hope that in this Art Deco house with its varying collection of artworks you will find a point of contact with beauty --- a place of relief and tranquility.



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