Synopses & Reviews
Untranslatable, the word katachi signifies the essence of Japanese designthe form, symmetry, and workmanship of traditional craft. Embodying the marriage of beauty and functionality that is the key to the Japanese aesthetic, the objects presented in Katachi are made of materials that have played an important role in Japanese life for centuries: wood, bamboo, stone, fiber, metal, earth. The photographs, in black-and-white and color, showcase pieces ranging from exquisite geometric stone carvings and architecturally elegant shoji screens to such humble yet perfectly conceived objects as combs, sandals, rakes, and teapots. Twenty years in the making, photographer Takeji Iwamiya's masterwork is a lovingly rendered tribute to these objects and the culture they sprang from. Japanese concepts of shape and form have been a major influence on contemporary design throughout the world, and this eloquent collection will appeal to designers as much as to connoisseurs of Japanese art and culture.
Reviews from: COND NAST HOUSE and GARDEN
Takeji Iwamiya's stunning black-and-white images of objects as intricate as a carved gate and as humble as a comb convey the essence of katachi the traditional Japanese sense of form.
"Katachi," loosely translated as a sense of form, was photographer Iwamiya's masterwork, 50 years in the making. His photographs showcase geometric stone temple carvings to humble objects such as bamboo baskets, tea whisks, lacquerware, paper cutouts, sandals, rakes, teapots, dishes and more. Whatever the object, its execution has been pursued with excellence in workmanship and an astringency of taste. Iwamiya's camera records not only their pared-to-the-bones forms but captures the intangible qualities of the Japanese aesthetic, which has the power to transform the observer's perceptions.
This is another beautiful, box-like book from Chronicle, volumes that just might hold the barricades against e-books. After a brief introduction to the somewhat opaque concept of Katachi (an emptiness pulling in what's around it, extracting and transforming its essence), full-page b&w photos of most
About the Author
Takeji Iwamiya (1920-1989) was one of Japan's foremost photographers and a professor at Osaka University of Arts. His many published books and exhibitions explored subjects including gardens, images of the Buddha, and traditional Japanese motifs.