Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'At Home in Japan - beyond the minimal home' Exhibition at The Geffrye Museum

All photos: Itsumo Japan
At Home in Japan - beyond the minimal home
The Geffrye Museum of the Home
Kingsland Road
E2 8EA
TEL: 020 7739 9893

Currently on display at The Geffrye Museum of the Home in London is an interesting exhibition based on ethnographical research by University of Oxford's Dr Inge Daniels about the contemporary Japanese home.

The exhibition recreates the rooms of a typical modern Japanese home and includes photographs, information and household items gathered by Dr
Daniels during field research carried out in Japan where several families were interviewed about their homes.

The exhibition is entered through a recreated genkan or entrance where you pass potted plants, the letterbox and a fire bucket like those seen outside many Japanese homes. Inside slippers are laid out, there is a cabinet for shoes and a parcel waits to be collected. In the first room a chest is recreated with drawers filled with kimono and accessories that can be opened and the contents taken out. Throughout the exhibition visitors are encouraged to pick up and handle all the objects on display, rifle through drawers and interact with the exhibits. In a Japanese-style room there are tatami mats on the floor and shinto family shrine. Across the hall is a bathroom complete with toiletries and towels. In the open-plan living area or LDK there are shelves filled with bowls and cups and drawers filled with disposable chopsticks and other paraphernalia typical of a Japanese family kitchen. Throughout all the rooms there are photographs of the real-life rooms on which the exhibition is based and interesting information about their contents and uses. The dimensions of the rooms are intimate making the experience so realistic that it feels a little like snooping around someone's home while they're out. Though the exhibition shows a more mundane and everyday side of Japan it is interesting and engaging and will doubtless evoke fond memories for anyone that has spent any time in Japan.

The entrance

Inside the genkan or entrance

Information about souvenirs and gift-giving

Japanese-style room

The bathroom

The open-plan living room or LDK

Kitchen cupboards and drawers 

'At Home in Japan - beyond the minimal house' is on display at The Geffrye Museum of the Home until Monday 29th August 2011.


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