An exhibition on exquisite crafts co-created by Swedish designers and Taiwanese lacquerware artisans will greet exhibitiongoers at the Nantou-based National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute from Jan. 24 through July 30.
The 35 craft works are the results of a special program that invited five Swedish designers — Gabriella Gustafson, Matti Klenell, Stina Löfgren, Carina Seth Andersson, and Mattias Ståhlbom — to visit Taiwan and work on research and development in crafts.
The program incorporates the extraordinary experiences and skills of Taiwanese lacquerware artisans with the modern Western aesthetic concepts of the Swedish designers. The designers were hosted by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute in Nantou, and their collaboration with local artists resulted in new outlooks on traditional craft items such as stools and tables.
Lacquerware is a delicate, ancient, and unique handicraft that requires a long and complicated process, including body-making and coating, in order to achieve its signature luster and sheen. Lacquerware can have bodies made of a wide range of materials, such as ceramic, wood, bamboo, vine, paper, pearl, and stone, adding further versatility and innovation to the age-old craft.
The 35 lacquer creations from the program were displayed in a well-received exhibition at the Östasiatiska Museum in Stockholm in 2014. Under the title “A New Layer,” the exhibition continued to tour other European cities, including Malmoe, the third largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg in the west of Sweden, and the French capital Paris.
The title “A New Layer” refers to how the lacquer is applied in several layers until the desired surface sheen is achieved. Artisans have not only mastered a single method, but developed a variety of ways in which the coating is used, both as a functional and a decorative material.
Despite the long history of craftsmanship, it is not tied to tradition but is constantly changing. Taiwan’s variegated culture is apparent in local crafts traditions, which in turn have significantly colored the materials that appear in this exhibition.
‘Taiwan-Sweden Lacquer Art Co-Creation Exhibition’
- Date: Jan. 24 – July 30, 2017
- Venue: National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute
- Address: No. 573 Zhongzheng Road, Catun Township, Nantou County, Taiwan (ROC)
- Website: www.ntcri.gov.tw