The Beginning of Life/Art: Cloth Weaves Our Times, from Aomori

May 7 (Thu)- August 30 (Sun), 2020

ENDO Kaori

Flash and Parachute, 2020 Photo: Delphine Parodi

If no one made bombs and made only beautiful fireworks instead, wars would never have happened. - Kiyoshi Yamashita

Considering that complex social facts are woven in textiles, the textile/visual artist ENDO Kaori collects textiles and repeatedly uses and restores them, in her search for the essence of crafts, rooted in people’s life, through a contemporary art perspective. Inspired by the remark made by the painter Kiyoshi Yamashita (1922-1971), who is said to have started wandering about to escape from the draft during the Second World War, she created an installation themed around war and fireworks.

While there is a masterpiece of collage by Yamashita, called Nagaoka Fireworks (1950), one type of fireworks called ‘White Chrysanthemum’, which gets shot up at Nagaoka Firework Festival, commemorates victims of the Nagaoka air raid that happened on August 1st, 1945, right before the Second World War ended. Incidentally, this very place, Aomori, was also hit by a major air raid four days prior to the Nagaoka air raid and many people lost their life. The Japanese summer tradition: Fireworks - Their colorful flashes and blasts by bangers can move the audiences as well as remind them of air raids and wars.

For this occasion, Endo acquired unused second hand kimonos from all over the country including Aomori, tore them into strips, learned the Tsugaru Sakiori (Weaving) technique, and wove them into a parachute.
Parachutes were invented as a means to escape from airplanes and used to save people’s lives. Later on, parachute descent was developed as a way of transporting soldiers to attack enemy territories from the sky. As many predecessors have pointed out, the time-consuming weaving work somehow resembles the act of prayer.

From the craft objects used among ordinary people, archived in the collection of the Aomori city Board of Education, Endo selected damaged or broken agricultural equipment, which was passed down through many people’s hands, and various kimonos, which were worn with great care and changed through time.

One day by chance, told by an alumnus of Aomori Municipal Nagashima Elementary School, Endo encountered a pen drawing of fireworks, which is said to be the work of Kiyoshi Yamashita. All kinds of things migrate and similar things happen beyond time and place. Everything is related. Wars are not something that have ended. Endo makes textiles, uses them, and restores them. Following as extensions of these life activities, it seems that Endo is trying to continue living someone’s life.

Text: KEINO Yuka, Translation: NAGASAKA Aki

・Exhibited Cultural Properties
A pen-and-ink sketch attributed by YAMASHITA Kiyoshi (Owned by Aomori Municipal Nagashima Elementary School, 1958)
About 53 craft objects (Owned by Aomori City Board of Education) ※Refer to attached sheet

・Video
Shot and Edited by YOKOYAMA Masanori (YOKOYAMA DESIGN WORKS)
Shot of Nebuta Festival around 1970 by YAMAZAKI Tatsuo

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8-min

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