Grandfather's Envelopes
Works of paper by Kouzaki Hiromu
Gallery 2

November 25, 2011 - January 25, 2012


Kouzaki Hiromu, the grandfather of the exhibition title, was born in 1902 in Japan. He learnt carpentry at the age of 15 and eventually became a master builder. As an elderly man of 80, partly to keep his hands busy, he began to make envelopes from used paper that he found around the house, and soon this activity took over his life. He made envelopes almost incessantly. When he died, at the age of 95, the family put paper into his coffin so he could go on producing them. 

The envelopes, made from used and unwanted materials (in much the same way as the Japanese boro that were shown in Gallery 2 some years ago) are not artworks, but neither are they exactly everyday objects for use. What is most remarkable about them, apart from the silent, diligent, and obsessive manner in which they were made, is their wonderful simplicity and humility - qualities that are not much in evidence in our materialistic world.

Fujii Sakuko, Kouzaki Hiromu's granddaughter, was responsible for bringing these beautiful artifacts to public attention in Japan, where they have been exhibited on several occasions. She also produced a book about them, which will be for sale at our exhibition.

With warm thanks to Stephen Szczepanek, who introduced us to these wonderful objects, and to Fujii-san, who has so generously lent us a multitude of her grandfather's works of paper.