Towada Art Center is pleased to present On the Beach—Jurgen Lehl’s Messages from the Sea, on view Saturday, October 8, 2016 through Sunday, February 5, 2017.
Jurgen Lehl (1944—2014) was celebrated for his line of products, which made the most of natural materials in his original clothing, textile, and jewelry designs. After first visiting in 1966, Lehl made Japan his home in the early 1970s, creating products with natural materials and craftsmanship of Japan and other parts of Asia. He lamented the destruction of the natural environment and how it seemed to parallel the progressive loss of traditional techniques and their artisans.
Grieved and appalled by the endless amount of trash that washed onto the beaches of his home and farm on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Lehl channeled his energy into repurposing the trash he collected into things of beauty and utility. The highlights of this exhibition are Lehl’s lamps, made from bits of plastic collected on shores near his home. Also on display are his photographs, which contrast the beauty of the sea with its current polluted state. Other works by artist Chris Jordan will also make a special appearance. Jordan’s photos and videos capture seabird carcasses filled with plastic waste mistakenly fed to them by their parents.
Lehl’s beautiful, utilitarian lighting fixtures raise concern for nature, the source of all human life. Together with the works of his respected friend Chris Jordan, Lehl’s messages from the sea ring loud and clear.
These artworks were well received at both the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival. We are excited to present this exhibition in a completely new spatial configuration that is unique to the Towada Art Center.