The International Show

Toriawase  (取合わせ)
The Poetics of an Art Medley

When you take an object and put it somewhere with another object, you are creating the poetics of an art medley. ‘Taking’ and ‘matching/arranging’, a literal translation of the Japanese term introduced here, is something we do intuitively when we invite guests to a dinner party: We consciously or subconsciously ‘match’ their interests and experiences to create harmony, sometimes daring the introduction of the unexpected to surprise and challenge, thus seeking subtle acknowledgement of our social and cultural accomplishments. We do this in our choice of dress and accessories, and of course in our home environments, the intimate space in which we create the expression of our innermost selves.

In the Japanese formal practice of tea, the art of ‘toriawase’ is a highly evolved aesthetic philosophy, an expression of the connoisseurship of both host and guest, the former in choosing and the latter in appreciating that choice: ‘A host or hostess used the toriawase to share something that cannot be fully expressed in words. Creating toriawase is an art form like poetry.’ (Anderson, J.L. An Introduction to the Japanese Tea Ritual)

At Lesley Kehoe Galleries, acknowledging our debt to Japanese culture, we have long refused to recognize the distinctions between fine art and decorative art; the value judgments ascribing three-dimensional works of art to secondary status, and the proscriptions of narrowly defined collecting fields. We share with our clients the sophistication and excitement of unexpected juxtapositions: ‘We must be careful not to fall into the trap of defining “contemporary” and “traditional” as irreconcilable opposites.’ (Akimoto Yuji Director 21st Contemporary Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa Japan, Curator of current exhibition Future Forward at MAD New York)

Our exhibition at the International Show, Park Avenue Armory October 23-29, takes the opportunity to present the philosophy of ‘toriawase’ in the context of the works of Maio Motoko and the practice of tea. The extraordinary physical and emotional perspectives of the contemporary folding screens of Maio Motoko are the consummate expression of ‘toriawase’. Their flexible arrangements and yin and yang aesthetics offer a unique personal interaction with the artworks, creating multiple spatial environments and matching individual psychic dispositions. Maio Motoko will co-ordinate with a revolutionary young tea master from the Ueda Sōko Ryū samurai tradition of tea, Paris-based Adam Wojcinski. The artists have been asked to use the Galleries’ collection of historical and contemporary works of art in a constantly changing poetic medley. In so doing, we offer hospitality and present clients and guests with a unique opportunity to experience the art medleys and imagine how these might work in their individual art collections, personal lives and environments.

Objects resonate in individual ways. They are the repositories of our memories and affections, experiences and emotions. In our homes, they create the physical infrastructure for our inner lives. They provide access to beauty and aspire to ground the ephemeral in the everyday. They lift the spirit, stir the soul and remind us of the best of ourselves. We imbue them with our personal energies, which in harmony with that of their creators, inform the ‘toriawase’ of our lives.

Tea and screen installations daily October 23-26 from 2.00 pm
+ 1 (917) 847 2472 (during exhibition dates only)

Lesley Kehoe Galleries
Booth E12
The International Show Park Ave Armory
New York, USA
October 23-29








The International Show
Lesley Kehoe