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Ryuji Mitani | Exhibition Opening Remarks

Hello everyone in New York,

It has been a long, difficult time due to COVID-19, but now I am happy to hear that people in New York are gradually returning to normal life, like enjoying dining at restaurants and performances at re-opened theatres on Broadway.

During this hard period—for you and me—the time spent at home increased. I’d say that there are downsides about it, but meanwhile, there are upsides too such as reaffirming family bonds, finding ways to stay home enjoyably, or rethinking our life.

The more we spend time in our home, the more we make our hands move for cooking, fixing up the house, and tidying up rooms. This way of life was very natural for our ancestors, but we’d rather live by consuming overflowing mass products around us. It’s obvious that various problems like global warming, extreme weather, and COVID-19 occur in exchange for our convenience. It’s inevitable that we change our way of life.

Humans are individually creative creatures. When we make something with our hands, it takes a lot of time compared to using our brains to solve problems. And yet, it brings us pleasure to create something by hand. Things made by our hands are not uniform nor alike. There are marks of our hands, unevenness, and irregularity like noises. Come to think of it, humans are also exactly the same. So, I think we can feel warmth and comfort in things made by hand.

Not only by admiring tableware, but also by using them, we can then be a part of that creativity. That is a reason why I’m fascinated with tableware. It’s totally up to you how to use tableware. Like family portraits, long-used tableware embraces memories of our precious days in it.

Making objects with our hands. Thinking about something with our hands or bodies, not our brains. I’d love to pursue such creativity and subsequent pleasure in our daily life. I believe that we can do that, since we have now experienced and realized that seeing people in person brings us much more joy than we expect, rather than hanging out with people online.

Thank you so much for coming to my exhibition at Nalata Nalata. I hope I will see you in person next time.

Translation and images courtesy of Aya Nihei

Written by Ryuji Mitani

Ryuji Mitani

October 15, 2021

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