CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
New York | DesignMarch 31, 2008

Now and Zen Lifestyle

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As we all know, a distinct aesthetic and a finely hewn craft arise from the Japanese isles.

The richly diverse terrain that unfolds up and down the archipelago has spawned a wealth of cultural perspective, a creative sensibility that is constantly in synchrony with nature. Defining the pervasive monotony of the modern, Japan's arts and crafts work asserts a persistent attachment to the elements and to the Earth.

If you are opening a new Japanese restaurant and need assistance or if you are looking for that Asiatic flair in your home or even if you lack "Eastern spice" in your contemporary lifestyle, young Shoko Aono, director of the Ippodo (eep-poh-doh) gallery in the neighborhood of Chelsea (recently inaugurated from Japan), is the perfect person for you.

Shoko is only 27 and is the heiress of a renowned personality in the art scene of Tokyo. She and the gallery team came to celebrate the gifts of Japan's artists and artisans with New Yorkers.

They delight in sharing their refinement and genius with lovers of beauty everywhere. Their name extols the grace of a single ear of rice, an apt symbol of Japan. What we learn from them and their guidance is to evoke simple gratitude for the blessings of nature and to express prayers for lasting grace. This gratitude -- reflecting in our day to day objects, environment and small ceremonials -- will only enrich our thirst for beauty and peacefulness in our lives.

Japan's underlying identity and rising profile in the global community, with its distinctive combination of culture and values of aesthetics and techniques, is more alive than ever among us. With artistry of compelling importance, Ippodo is a stage for the progenitors of such culture and a platform catalyst of the world's contemporary art market and new encounters with the spirit of enriching humankind's cultural heritage.

At the New York salon such philosophy is presented by the Po-An actual exhibition (poh-wwn), a name that refers to the rice ears and to the huts in which Zen monks sometimes resided. It encompasses the finest lifestyle arts in Japan, in tune with the changing seasons. Styled by the renowned designer Uchida Shigeru, the space is a reassuringly Oriental sanctuary for people like us, contemporary spirits.

There, while you will impart the dimensions of time and context to the artistic offerings of Japan surrounded by new-old marvels of painting, ceramic, stone, woodwork, glass and other media, your personal needs are discussed in the Shoko's welcoming experience of sharing with you the quiet in the realm of tea upon tatami mats.

Sayonara!

Joelle's picks:

Ippodo Gallery

521 W. 26th St., New York, NY 1001

Tel + 1 212 -967-4899

Fax+ 1-212-967-48-89

shoko@ipodogallery.com

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