KUROism - The world of tea ceremony as seen by contemporary artists -

KUROism - The world of tea ceremony as seen by contemporary artists -

2024.05.10(Fri) – 2024.05.19(Sun)

YUGEN Gallery will be holding a group exhibition "KUROism - The world of tea ceremony as seen by contemporary artists" from Friday, May 10th to Sunday, May 19th.

Life is a series of yin and yang, a time enveloped in various colors...
I feel like I can see all of this in the black.
The black in emotions and words. The universe that spreads beyond the lustrous black luster...
It is "KUROism" that has captivated us, the artists.



Contemporary artists EDO AND YUMEKA called for artists from different fields and backgrounds to come together. This is a group exhibition by five artists: YASUTAKA ISOGAII, a stonemason in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, a city of stone, which has been in business for three generations and produces art pieces while working on traditional stone products; sculptor Kenichi Asano, whose works fuse modern pop culture elements with traditional wood carvings; ironworker Jin of art's gaze, who restores vintage BMW bikes; and fashion designer KOH ISHIGURO, who creates one-of-a-kind wardrobes by unraveling old clothes under the concept of "eclecticism." During the exhibition period, a tea ceremony will also be held by Yamada Shota, an athlete, potter and Enshu school tea master.

Tea ceremony and black. The aesthetics of relationships



EDO AND YUMEKA, who are curating this exhibition, have long been interested in the tea ceremony, including working on the spatial design of tea rooms. In particular, EDO has recently begun to make tea ceremony utensils by carving them from ebony and black persimmon wood, while learning from artisans. This time, he produced matcha bowls and tea scoops.

A series of steps in the tea ceremony encourages mental concentration and serenity. This exhibition, "KUROism," was planned to explore the possibilities of art through the relationship between the tea ceremony, which is full of Japanese aesthetic principles such as "wabi-sabi," and the color black, which embodies introspection and serenity. The exhibition will feature tea utensils created through a collaboration between contemporary artists and craftsmen, with black as the base color, a symbol of solemnity in Japanese culture.

The exhibition space will be a tea room of about 2 tatami mats, and will feature tea ceremony utensils such as a stone tea caddy by YASUTAKA ISOGAI, an iron tea kettle and a flower vase by ART'S GAZE Jin Jin, and a haori coat reconstructed from vintage wear by KOH ISHIGURO. In addition, as an exterior view from the tea room, there will be voluminous works such as a wooden sculpture of a male genitalia by Kenichi Asano and a restored all-black vintage BMW by Jin Art's Gaze Jin.

"I usually make objects of prayer, and I try my best to respond to the feelings of people who need something that cannot be seen," says Yasutaka ISOGAI. The work is handcrafted by artisans with refined Japanese sensibilities, and you can clearly feel the prayers in front of your eyes.




Reconstructing art as something extraordinary


EDO says he had always had the idea of ​​creating a work with a black theme. He says that his interest was influenced by his father, a painter, who painted a flock of crows that filled the canvas, and by Amagatsu Ushio of Sankai Juku, whom he watched as a child. In particular, the white-faced dance of Amagatsu Ushio, who appeared in the darkness, became the source of his creative theme, "hope between Eros and Thanatos," and ever since then, black has taken deep root in his consciousness.

When asked in a dialogue with theater critic Watanabe Tamotsu (※) why he paints his entire body white, Amako Ushio replied that the color white gives him the image of a gateway from the everyday to the extraordinary, and that painting his body white makes his presence as a human stand out. He went on to say that humans are discontinuous beings with an end, but that the outside of their bodies has continuity like the flow of a river, and that he expresses eternity through dance.

Amako's thinking reveals the Japanese concepts of "hare" and "ke" and the theory of yin and yang, and teaches us that humans are beings who drift through the continuity of everyday life and are open to the extraordinary. The tea ceremony, which chooses a Western style of behavior that is clearly different from the everyday and satisfies cultural rather than biological pleasures, can be said to be a practical example of this.

"Tea ceremony as an art seen by artists living in the present. Tea ceremony as something extraordinary in the gaps of the everyday. In modern society, art and culture have become part of everyday life. This is necessary to add color to life, but I have no doubt that art and culture as extraordinary experiences are also necessary. The gaps in the everyday...the objects and spaces born from the hands of artists who peer into the extraordinary with excitement. I want you to feel the world that unfolds behind those gaps." (EDO)

It is well known that Sen no Rikyu, who loved black Raku tea bowls, was particular about the color black, saying, "Red is a crude heart, black is an ancient heart." It is said that he needed utensils of a timeless color that "does not flatter" in order to see the true nature of the world with aesthetic sensibility from the extraordinary world of the tea ceremony.

Black is an unpretentious color that strips away the extraordinary and hypocritical and opens the mind to freedom. Humans emerge in the unchanging color shown in Amagatsu Ushio's Butoh. KUROism opens our hearts.





Exhibition highlights

*Please note that some of the exhibited works may be subject to change.

About sales of artworks


At the same time as the exhibition, the works will be available to view and purchase on the YUGEN Gallery official online store.

Reception Party


A reception party will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10th, the first day of the exhibition.

A tea ceremony hosted by athlete and potter Shota Yamada will be held from 6pm.

Drinks will be provided for participants, so we look forward to seeing you there.



We have published an exclusive interview with contemporary artists, EDO AND YUMEKA.


"KUROism - The world of tea ceremony as seen by contemporary artists" is an exhibition that updates traditional culture and asks us to rethink what art means to us. We spoke to EDO (EDO and YUMEKA), the curator, about the exhibition.

Original goods giveaway! About visitor registration


Customers who register using the form below will receive a gift of YUGEN Gallery original merchandise upon their visit.

When you come to the YUGEN Gallery, please show the staff the automatic reply email that was sent to your registered email address.

Once we have confirmed your registered name, we will give you a sticker.

*This form is for customers who wish to receive a sticker when they visit the event, and it is not necessary to fill out this form to make a reservation when you visit the event.*





Ed and Yumeka: An art unit consisting of EDO, who has been involved in live painting and jewelry design in the underground culture, and YUMEKA, a painter who creates various paintings such as oil paintings based on Japanese painting, which he learned on his own since his teens. In addition to painting, they are involved in a wide range of activities such as product production and spatial design for tea ceremony. Solo exhibitions include "SESSION" at ASPLUND/BAROOM/JMT CAFE in Tokyo, "BACKSTAGE" at Cafe CEREZA in Aichi (all in 2022), and "NUDAVERITAS" at YUGEN Gallery in Tokyo (2023).





Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1974. The third generation owner of Isogai Sculpture, a stone processing and sales company specializing in sculpture. Graduated from the Kanazawa Institute of Art. Recipient of the Okazaki City Chairman's Award at the Okazaki Stone Fair (2001), public production at the Stone+Tec International Exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany (2003), exhibited at Are de KANAZAWA2004 at Gallery Nebulosa in Xalapa, Mexico (2004), and the NYCoo Gallery Group Exhibition in New York, USA (2011).


Kenichi Asano



Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1981. After graduating from the Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts Graduate School of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture, he began his career as an artist while working on restoring Buddhist statues. He presents works that combine Japanese classical sculpture with the manga and games he has been familiar with since childhood. He was selected for the NHK Digital Stadium Yanobe Kenji Best Selection and the 13th Taro Okamoto Contemporary Art Award (2010), and won the 8th Enku Grand Prize Enku Award (2015). His solo exhibitions include "monstrum" at hpgrpgallery TOKYO (2016), and "MAREBITO" at Ginza Tsutaya Bookstore (2023).


Art's Gaze Jin



Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1985. Iron artist. Founder of style.ZINTEC. After working in motorcycle customization and can manufacturing, he started making fixtures and accessories for stores, and as his life's work, he pursues the ultimate restoration of vintage BMW bikes. He also presents art works under the name "art's gaze Jin." Aichi Prefecture, KAGOTA NO FAMILIAR "BMW vintage racer custom" (2023)




Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1985. "KOH ISHIGURO" is a fashion designer. While studying at CFC Chubu Fashion College, he launched a fashion brand with a friend. After that, he met Akira Nakaaki, the designer of AKIRANAKA, and asked him to teach him. In order to connect worn-out values ​​to the present day like alchemy, he creates one-of-a-kind hybrid pieces from old and vintage clothing, rather than remaking them.


Shota Yamada



Athlete and potter. Belongs to Gallery Seizan in Ginza. Self-taught in pottery since his teens, he studied the world of tea ceremony under the direct supervision of the head of the Enshu tea ceremony school. Active as an associate instructor of Enshu-ryu tea ceremony, "Mudo." As an athlete, he played rugby for 14 years, and currently competes in triathlons and trail running, which he considers his life's work. He also serves as a brand ambassador for lululemon, Millet, etc., and holds outdoor tea ceremonies and events both in Japan and overseas to connect sports and art.



2024.5.10 (Fri) - 2024.5.19 (Sun)


YUGEN Gallery


4F, 3-1-31 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo


Opening hours

Weekdays: 13:00-19:00
First day, weekends and holidays: 13:00-20:00
*Ends at 17:00 on the final day only

closing day


Date of presence

May 10th (Fri), 11th (Sat), 12th (Sun), 18th (Sat), 19th (Sun)

Admission fee



*Please note that the dates and opening hours may change without notice depending on the situation.