Yuko Hasegawa


Kacchu Anatomy

The aesthetics of design and engineering

Venue : the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa



Organization : 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa [Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation], Japan Arts Council and Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.

Artists :
Nile Koetting, Rhizomatiks,Shinichi Mita, Hatra×MAGARIMONO

Kacchu (Japanese Armor), which was originally introduced from continental China, has undergone a stylistic evolution unique to Japan dating back to the Kamakura period. The Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods in particular found kacchu’s design and finesse culminate as symbolic embodiments of samurai’s honor and power.

“Kacchu Anatomy: The aesthetics of design and engineering” was organized in order to present the cultural assets of kacchu from a contemporary, updated perspective under the theme of dialogue between the historical and contemporary, through reflections on the local history of the Maeda clan of the Kaga Domain. The beauty and originality of the patterns, colors, and techniques of kacchu, as observed in its design, metalworking, lacquering, dyeing and kumihimo braiding, hold an outstanding position in the history of crafts and fashion in Japan. Meanwhile, kacchu has also evolved through the transformations in war weapons and strategies, with intricate, anatomically-minded engineering. For this exhibition, emerging creators of the digital-age have collaboratively produced the exhibition space in order to bring forward to the present this allure of design and functionality. Kacchu’s inner structures are scanned by Rhizomatiks, who transfigure the “inner beauty” into a digital video. The exhibition space that ambiently channels kacchu’s elements to our contemporary bodies is designed by Nile Koetting, an artist of the post-Internet generation.

In a dialogue between kacchu and contemporary creation, kacchu masterpieces of diverse designs and styles, from such collections as the Ii Museum Ishikawa, Prefectural Museum of History and Osaka Castle Museum, will be hyper-revived through bespoke showcase designs and delicate lightings. Focusing on the wisdom of survival, and the pride and joy of adorning oneself, this exhibition is an attempt to renew the presence and performativity of kacchu, re-asserting its position in the present.