Exhibition image

Juxtaposing Craft

Traditional Craft and Contemporary Making in Japan and the Nordic Countries.

Juxta [Latin: next] Poser [French: to place]

Juxtaposing Craft explores the handmade in an exchange between the Nordic countries and Japan. The exhibition brings together contemporary works by designers, artists and craftspeople with artefacts from the collections of the National Museums of World Culture.

The handmade, time, movement, death and rituals. Rebecca Ahlstedt and Anna Senno, curators of Juxtaposing Crafts, have spent many years exploring the collections of Sweden’s National Museums of World Culture with the ambition of creating new works that illuminate the different perspectives and stories that handmade artefacts carry with them.

- An artefact often outlives its creator to tell our stories. In the exhibition, newborn and thousand-year-old protagonists meet side-by-side in the same space. These encounters can teach us a great deal about time and space, human and nature, life and death, material and beauty, says Anna Senno.

- Through materials and ornament, we shape both the world ourselves, says Rebecca Ahlstedt. We have great expectations for the new narratives that will be created when the exhibition meets its audience. Many of the works are interactive and analogue.

For the first time in the history of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, there will be encounters between works by fourth-generation bamboo masters, a newly created bathing ritual from Iceland that uses Jōmon pottery, lacquerwork and eighteenth-century Sami drums. Two of the ceremonial drums were recovered in Marseille by Sami artists and craftspeople Fredrik Prost and Anna Senno after many years of searching. In harmony, they have created a contemporary time drum that speaks of the relationship between sound and silence.

Nature, material and movement are a recurring theme in the exhibition, which includes interactive artefacts from Masaru Kawai’s forest in Gifu, Japan, a bench by Rebecca Ahlstedt and Seyia Mitazaki made in Dalarna, and a dance encounter between Nittsjö clay and the SU-EN Butoh Company.

The exhibition consists of three thematic investigations: Materiality in Motion, Water Ceremonies and The Return of Silence. It is created by Rebecca Ahlstedt, Anna Senno and design studio 1+1+1.

Exhibited in the Stair Hall is Needles, a vertiginous work by Japanese artist Toshimasa Kikuchi. Inspired by late-nineteenth-century mathematical models, these lacquered sculptures in Japanese cypress hang from the ceiling, juxtaposed with the room itself.

The Sámi drums


1+1+1 (Elina Aalto, Klaus Aalto, Roshildur Jonsdottir, Petra Lilja, Sneabjorn Stefansson), Rebecca Ahlstedt, Chikunsai II, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, Emi Fuji, Yonezawa Jiro, Gustav Karlssson Frost, Masaru Kawai, Toshimasa Kikuchi, Seiya Mitazaki, Chiharu Nishijima, Fredrik Prost, Anna Senno, Stinsensqueeze, SU-EN Butoh Company, Simon Whitfield, Aoi Yoshizawa and Simon Öreby.

Juxtaposing Craft opened on Saturday 15 October 2022 and is open until winter 2023 at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm. The exhibition is a collaboration between Undeni and the National Museums of World Culture and is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund. The exhibition also features artefacts from Dalarna Museum, the Mucem in Marseille and Galerie Mingei in Paris.