ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Flower & Space, Hiroki Ohara Exhibition

Hiroki Ohara, the headmaster of the Ohara School of Ikebana, held his first solo exhibition at the Nihon Bashi Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo from March 30 to April 4. According to the Ohara School of Ikebana's home page, over 45,000 people came to the exhibition over the 5 day period. It was a wonderful exhibition full of beautiful flowers, many of which I had never seen before, beautiful containers, beautiful zoukei sculptures, and the perfect lighting to set it all off. A friend and I spent well over an hour looking at everything -- we actually went through twice just to make sure we saw everything thoroughly. I was glad I was able to attend the exhibition and look forward to his next one.

Here are a few pictures from the exhibition that I really liked. (The picture quality is not the best because I took them with my cell phone's camera!)

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed his show.

The first thing you saw upon entering the exhibition space.

A large Bunjin style arrangement -- it was almost as tall as I was!

Another Bunjin style arrangement full of flowers and plants that I had never seen before.

A cute arrangement made with single stems of different flowers and plants.

A large scale natural landscape -- beautiful!

Another view of the large scale natural landscape.

I don't know what these are, if they are natural or something that was made by hand.
They reminded me of something from a Gibli movie.

More of the "Gibli" piece.

My favorite! Drift wood combined with real pine tree branches.

It looked so old yet so modern.

The stainless steel container made the ancient looking tree formation look new and modern.
I wish I had something like this in my apartment to look at every day.

Hanakanade -- a new style conceived by the headmaster.

Another example of Hanakanade using an unusual container and unusual materials.

It was a beautiful show that affirmed my passion for ikebana. Hiroki Ohara's arrangements were beautiful to look at inspiring in their imaginative use of flowers, plants, and materials. A wonderful first time exhibition that I would call a great success!


Nora Kay said...

Beautiful.... I can see why you would feel so inspired after seeing this. I too loved the drift wood with the pine tree branches. You too will have an exhibit like this one day with the wonderful work you do. Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

My favorite work was the single-stem floral assemblage--it looks so whimsical and spontaneous, like a grade-school classroom with all sorts of kids, some angelic, some bad, all trying to sit in their seats and get through the day without causing too much trouble. I would be most suspicious of that white dahlia in the front row----it looks way too innocent to me!! :D

On a more serious note, when an artist like your "headmaster" has a solo show, usually, critics are able to identify a leitmotif or a formal quirk that makes his work stand out and become "special" and unique. Like a hand print, a signature style, that separates it from others. What are the idiosyncrasies of HIroki Ohara that make his work uniquely his own? (From my perspective, and from the photos you've provided, it seems like he loves pine and evergreens.)

Anyway, always aim high. You can do a show like this, too, some day, I'm sure of it!!!


Hideki said...

I like huge pine tree work:)
You said that only stainless steel container weigh 400kg!!
I wanna have a cup of coffee with seeing this work.

Stephen Coler said...

mom, it was very inspiring, indeed! i could have stayed a while longer and looked and looked and looked. i know there were things i didn't notice. i would have liked to have gone back again. it seems like you always notice something different after stepping away and reexamining things. one day, i will have a big exhibition, too!

Stephen Coler said...

it was a very interesting show!
as for the pine and evergreen branches, they are all used throughout the year and are considered a luxurious material to use -- they are rather expensive. so, many people use pine during an exhibition.
to me, i would say that his leitmotif would be his use of unusual materials, like bones, skulls, and horns of wild animals (which i didn't post any pictures of); he also used many unusual plants and combined them in interesting ways. the last two pictures are something that he created, a new style for ohara-ryu ikebana. it was debuted last year and can be seen in the ikebana magazines that are published by ohara-ryu. i think that these are truly original and define him and his style right now.

Stephen Coler said...

hideki, i would like to have enjoyed a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while looking at all of the beautiful arrangements. i think having some seating throughout the exhibition, where you could sit down and realy relax and take it in would have been nice. but there would probably be too many people blocking the view from the seats. it is a good idea, though!