150th Year Anniversary of Japan - Denmark Diplomatic Relations Exhibition

Everyday Life – Signs of Awareness

2017.8.5(Sat.) - 2017.11.5(Sun.)



2017.8.5(Sat.) - 2017.11.5(Sun.)
10:00 - 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


Galleries / 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Galleries 7-12, 14, Courtyard,Public Zone


Mondays (Open on Aug 14, Sep 18, Oct 9 and Oct 30), and Sep 19 (Tue.), Oct 10 (Tue.)


Adult: ¥1,000 (¥800)
University: ¥800 (¥600)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥400 (¥300)
65 and over: ¥800
*( ) indicate advance ticket and group rates (20 or more).
※This exhibition ticket is a common ticket for [Jurgen Lehl The End of Civilization]. This ticket allows entry to [Collection2] until 5 November.

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802
E-Mail: info@kanazawa21.jp

Denmark and Japan have become design-oriented nations, each following a path that springs f rom a unique background of history and culture. The countries’ excellent design solutions, inspired by a functional, practical, yet aesthetic approach, are reflections of their cultural identities.
Denmark has attracted tremendous attention as one of the most resilient design giants in the fields of architecture, furniture and everyday products
since the 1930s. The country established a model for wealthy nations with a highly developed social system with regard to welfare, education and traffic solutions. Japan, on the other hand, is a country which has developed the symbolic design of the time, based on its unique culture and philosophy. The technical expertise required to produce simple and compact shapes and the knowledge and experience to make the most of the material, with a craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation, demonstrate Japan’ s unique position in the global design arena.
This exhibition, Everyday Life – Signs of Awareness, showcases the impact of design-minded awareness through the works of designers, architects and artists
from Japan and Denmark. It also presents and highlights everyday items that are part of modern life in both countries.

Related Projects


Period: 2017.10.9 (Mon.) around 16:00 on October 9
Henrik Vibskov will perform improvisation related his installation "The Repetitive Clean".

※The programs may be subject to change owing to circumstances. Visitors can enter for this event to the Museum gallery of "Everyday Life – Signs of Awareness" after 16:00. The improvisation event will be permitted by the first visitors, advance reservations not required.Visitors will be closed when the capacity is reached.

workshop "Export / import"

Period : 2017.10.12 (Thu.) - 10.15 (Sun.)
Venue : at the front of Rabbit Chairs around South entrance,21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Intended Audience : Participants should be 12 years or older.
Capacity : Please note that admission capacity for each session is 5 participants. The participants will be handle inquiries on a first-come and first-served basis, if the number of applicants reaches the limit.
Admission : 500 JPY
Practical production by a loom each (instructors overseeing the workshop).
Participants can take the product (a pencil case) home.


The series of talks will cover an interdisciplinary selection of topics across the fields of design, education, medical care and urban planning with a view to deepening the understanding of the exhibition.

Capacity: The first 80 persons will be admitted. *Reservations are not required.
Admission: Free admission
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
*Please note that it will not be possible to leave during the talk, except in case of emergencies.

VOL. 5

*This lecture was suspended due to the lecturer’s personal reason.
Christian Holmsted Olesen (head of Exhibitions and Collections, Designmuseum Denmark)
“Danish Design – an international idiom”
Date/time: 9/22 (fri) 18:30-20:00 doors open at 18:00

VOL. 6

David Sim (creative director, Gehl)
“Making Cities for People”
Date/time: 10/6 (fri) 18:30-20:00 doors open at 18:00

VOL. 1

Hara Kenya (director, Nippon Design Center)
“Sophistication of the frontier - simplicity of Japan and Denmark” In Japanese only.
Date/time: 8/5 (sat) 10:30-12:00 doors open at 10:15

VOL. 2

Louise Campbell(designer)
“In search of a suitable pace- the challenges of being a walker in a time of runners”
Date/time: 8/5 (sat) 13:30-15:00 doors open at 13:00

VOL. 3

Kuribayashi-Shigetomi Kaori (Hokkaido University, Nitobe School)
“Folding Cells? -Applications in a medical field of origami-”In Japanese only.
Date/time: 9/15 (fri) 18:30-20:00 doors open at 18:00

VOL. 4

Omoto Aya (creative process designer, Laere Inc.)
“Future of Danish and Japanese design education” In Japanese only.
Date/time: 9/16 (sat) 13:00-14:30 doors open at 12:30

Selected exhibitors

  • benandsebastian
    Kay Bojesen
    Louise Campbell
    Rosa Tolnov Clausen
    Nanna Ditzel
    Olafur Eliasson
    Søren Engsted
    Hara Kenya
    Poul Kjærholm
    Erik Magnussen
    Børge Mogensen
    Anne Fabricius Møller
    Nagaoka Kenmei+D&DEPARTMENT
    Margrethe Odgaard
    Oh Haji
    Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
    Sambuichi Hiroshi
    Kuribayashi-Shigetomi Kaori
    Suzuki Shunji+
    Kanazawa Institute of Technology
    Tora Urup
    Henrik Vibskov

Message from curator

  • photo: Ikeda Hiraku

    Kurosawa Hiromi (Chief Curator of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)

    Humankind has always thought about and practiced renovation of methods and means for better living in the long history. A number of tools for hunting and cultivating the land indicate that human wisdom and ingenuity at the time appeared in the “form.” Regardless of being famous or unknown, there must be many things still unchanged and loved. Fully utilizing techniques that they could attain from time to time, people spared no effort to live in comfort. Such desire to enhance the quality of our life and giving a shape to the awareness of what we cannot find elsewhere—if I could call this process design—it is immeasurable how lively, rich and beautiful our daily lives are through design.
    Design is not a matter of human preference. It is to extract, verify and integrate various elements in order to find a shape that perfectly suits the daily life. Designers and artists are those who consider what they perceive carefully and find some ways to characterize a good “shape.” Not only ease of use and comfort but also harmonious beauty are their aims. And as for harmony, a thing should be in harmony with itself, and at the same time, harmony with those who use them should be considered.
    The power to support satisfying and fulfilling daily life not only dwells in details and individuality, but also brought about by functioning as a whole. When considering design in Japan and Denmark, we could point out each feature and difference based on the respective culture and history, but today I think it is important to aim for rich creation through collaboration and cooperation. I hope that this exhibition will provide viewers with the opportunity to see the creators’ enthusiasm looking for a design that truly enriches our everyday life.

  • photo: Cecilie Manz Studio

    Cecilie Manz (Designer)

    A perfect everyday life – does it even exist?
    We deliberately seek it; refining, optimising, planning, rationalising.
    But everyday life itself always seems to get in the way, spoiling everything with its flaws, mistakes, mishaps and irregularities – lived life.

    Everyday life is full of structures, systems – and physical objects.
    They take up room in our homes and our minds, so they should possess a quality, a functionality and an aesthetic value that enrich our lives more than they complicate it.

    Good design, good crafts may be a humble tin opener in bent steel, a beautiful, patinated wooden chair, a street sign, a bicycle, a new material, a letter of the alphabet, a jar that makes you pause in wonder, a tree in Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, where lines are strung out to prevent the branches from snapping in case of snowfall.
    The right material at the right place is paramount; the right materiality. That requires awareness of the nature of the material and an open mind to what it has to offer. Attention to detail. Virtues that characterise the best of both Danish and Japanese design and crafts.

    Everyday life makes up most of our existence. That is why it makes sense to focus on creating the best everyday life we can.
    The exhibition “Everyday Life – Signs of Awareness” presents a selection of objects and solutions in design and crafts that do just that – gives shape to and define our everyday life.

Related Projects

  • Lars Engstrøm, Christiania Bikes Model Light, Christiania Bikes, 1984
    Photo: Christiania Bikes

    Pottering Club

    (Potter+ing = carefree promenade by bicycle)
    We recruit management members of Pottering-club in which participants can experience a Danish bicycle on the site of the museum. We provide visitors with the opportunity to ride a bicycle during the exhibition period.
    Period: August 5 (Sat.) - November 5 (Sun.), 2017
    except the museum’s off-day. Running time is irregular.
    Venue: Reception in front of the project studio,
    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

  • Your Memory

    It is a project in which we consider, through the exhibition, the relationship between things and people, and things and oneself. At the counter in front of the exhibition room 11, visitors write down the episodes related to the items they bring in and put those items on the vacant shelf. In return, they can take home some “Your Memory” items, which are already placed on the shelf.
    Period: August 5 (Sat.) - November 5 (Sun.), 2017, at any time (except the museum’s off-day).
    Venue: In front of Exhibition room 11 of “Everyday Life - Signs of Awareness”,
    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

  • Denmark Club

    It is a citizen participation project to plan and implement programs using Denmark as a keyword. We recruit exhibition management members including exhibit guides for “Everyday Life - Signs of Awareness” exhibition and event supporting staff.
    Period: August 5 (Sat.) - November 5 (Sun.), 2017, at any time (except the museum’s off-day).
    Venue: The area of Everyday Life exhibition, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

Exhibition Composition

  • Japan - Denmark Treaty of Friendship,
    Commerce and Navigation Replica
    Replica made by Dai Nippon Printing,
    1867 / 2016
    Collection of Royal Danish Embassy, Tokyo
    Courtesy of Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

    [SIGN OF THE BEGINNING] In front of Gallery 7

    The original copy of the Japan Denmark Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation signed in 1867 and kept on the Japanese side was destroyed by fire in Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. With the cooperation of Dai Nippon Printing, a precise replica of the original copy on the Danish side held by the Danish National Archives was produced and was presented to Japan.

  • Hara Kenya,
    “Tag System” as the Representative of the Philosophy of MUJI, 2017 (plan image)
    © Hara Kenya

    [MUJI]Gallery 7

    Looking back on design in daily life in Japan, we consider the appearance of MUJI to indicate a big turning point. When MUJI was born in the 1980s, Japan was in the bubble economy, and people’s consumption activities were attracted to overseas brands against the background of abundant funds. Ryohin Keikaku with products of MUJI aimed to inform consumers of the product attractiveness and usefulness. It is a value increasingly required in the 21st century to think that brands are not the criteria for the value judgment and think about what we really need while looking back on the basics of life. That stance of MUJI ahead of the times shows the worldwide expansion including North America, Europe and Asia. This time, Hara Kenya, a member of MUJI’s advisory board, makes a presentation focusing on “tags” that indicate the reasons of being MUJI.

  • Anne Fabricius Møller, Street Print, 2013
    Photo: Mindcraft /Jule Hering

    [MATERIALITY]Gallery 8

    “What an object is made of is not insignificant. In fact, it may define its very nature, its identity.”
    (A passage from the comments by Cecilie Manz, co-curator of this exhibition, on Materiality)
    For example, Kaare Klint, the famous pioneer of design of Danish furniture thought that design is not the visible formation power, but the outcome of logic to select materials and methods. Here introduced are highlights of Denmark design such as the sincere attitude to understand the essence of the material and make use of its characteristics, and craftsmen’s handiwork attentive to details.
    Anne Fabricius Møller is fascinated with the degree of detailing that emerges in the prints of the found objects. The objects are placed on the fabric in the desired composition, and reactive textile dye in the colour of the found objects is applied to the fabric. Once the printing is complete, a fixing effect is achieved through damping and the fabric is washed and ironed.

  • Photo: Little Sun Foundation

    [LITTLE SUN]In front of Gallery 8

    Little Sun is a project related to energy supply that Olafur Eliasson started in 2012. The palm-sized device with the sun as a motif, with a solar panel attached to the back, will light up your hand at night if you store the natural energy of the sunlight during the day. Eliasson has been working on sustainable business models in terms of design, development, sales and distribution so that Little Sun can be delivered to people in the world who cannot get electricity supply. The idea of cooperative coexistence for the sake of society and people is not put into practice by special people on special occasions. This small device encourages everyone to think about energy and act in their everyday lives.

    Installation view: ARoS - The Future,
    2017 (reference image)
    Photo: Anders Sune Berg

    [REFRECTION]Courtyard 2

    A series of Investment Bank Flowerpots are models of the corporate head quarter buildings designed and operated by twenty of the world's largest investment banks. The work address the co-relation of the state of euphoria experienced with intoxicating oneself with psychoactive plants and the euphoric state of capitalism running amok with escalating growth, division of rich and poor and increasing investments in the next big economic bubble.

  • benandsebastian, Department of Voids, 2017
    Photo: Jeppe Gudmundsen

    [VOID/AIRY (absent/present)]Gallery 9

    Benandsebastian found transport cases in the collection of Designmuseum Danmark. Curious about the existence of the article that is left at the museum without being thrown away and with nobody knowing its origin or function, they present a work which spins a story of what that thing is about. A two-dimensional work by Ito Makoto makes use of the characteristics of glass so that a three-dimensional shape arises. Where can we find a boundary as to whether things are present or not?

  • Louise Campbell, Remember, 2017
    © Louise Campbell

    [TIME]Gallery 10

    People living in cities in particular might sometimes feel confused and uneasy about everything going at a high speed. Louise Campbell has tackled creating organic work forms by joining paper rings endlessly as if she were trying to shake off fears and anxieties about missing things in the passage of time. It can be said that the volume itself spreading in the space is the conversion of time she worked on.
    Oh Haji is an artist who has created works with cloth as the material using weaving and dyeing techniques. This time, having examined the kimono of “kogin-zashi” in the Tsugaru District of Aomori Prefecture, she presented kimono in the early Showa period wholeheartedly embroidered one stitch at a time, in order to show in photographs not only the beauty of patterns but also the significance of handwork that is still alive in everyday life.

  • HOME (plan image)
    © Hara Kenya

    [HOME]Gallery 11

    The study on “home” is very thought-provoking with regard to contemporary society. What kind of things people are surrounded with depends on the choice of people who live there. Cecilie Manz, one of the exhibition curators, has produced “home” where chic designs of the two countries are fused with things from Denmark that she picked up and things from Japan that designer Hara Kenya selected. Cultural differences may be highlighted from things that are basic structural elements of “home” while the globalization may present a home with remarkable convergence.

  • Your Memory, 2017
    (plan image)

    [MEMORY]In front of Gallery 11

    The items placed on the shelf have tags written with messages from the owners concerning things related to the items. If you want to take some item and the message home, you can write your own memories on a tag and exchange the item for your belongings. Of all things which overflow in the world, if each of them is connected with memories, it will be one special thing in this world. Regardless of the name of the brand or designer, it is with important memories that cannot be replaced by anything else.

  • Kuribayashi-Shigetomi Kaori
    Cells Fold Origami! From 2D to 3D, 2012
    © Kuribayashi-Shigetomi Kaori Courtesy of Hokkaido University

    [2D → 3D]Gallery 12

    It is thought that creatures and plants living in the natural world have evolved with the optimum form in the course of adaptation to the environment. Inspired by the traditional origami technique, Kuribayashi-Shigetomi Kaori has applied it to the research of stent craft (metal artificial blood vessel) that is used to cure a blood vessel. Technological innovation brought about by origami is attracting much attention as a means to open the way to what could not have been done so far.

  • Sambuichi Hiroshi, Hut for Sun,Water and Air, 2017
    Sketch for Installation at 21st Century Museum of
    Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    ©Sambuichi Hiroshi

    [HUT FOR SUN, WATER AND AIR]Courtyard 3

    Denmark is a country that is highly regarded for its grand design using renewable energy. People in both Japan and Denmark, who are originally linked deeply with rich nature, are sensitive to seasonal changes and have found various ways to enjoy nature according to the season.
    Sambuichi Hiroshi made a hut, which can read the environment with sensitivity to the air moving through fluctuating temperatures caused by the movement of the sun. The architecture made of the materials which move naturally such as water, wind and the sun brings about beautiful harmony with the inorganic environment of glass and concrete.

  • enrik Vibskov, The Repetitive Clean, 2017
    (Plan image)
    ©Henrik Vibskov

    [ROUTINE]Gallery 14

    Henrik Vibskov has a title of a fashion designer, but it would be more appropriate to regard his fashion show a performance piece in which various items representing his worldview are integrated rather than that the costumes worn by models are important. In this exhibition with the theme of “dishwashing,” concerning daily routine, viewers are asked to stand in front of piles of a disgusting number of dishes and sinks. It indicates that as life is not always perfectly beautiful and fun, we must not forget dirt and decay.

  • Nagaoka Kenmei + D&DEPARTMENT,
    d design travel, 2009 -

    [IDENTITY]Around Gallery 14

    Nagaoka Kenmei, as a design activist promoting “mono- zukuri (making things)” rooted in the region, has been making Michi-no-Eki (roadside shopping station) called “D &DEPARTMENT” of long-life design (region-specific design that has long been used by people), one in each of the 47 prefectures. “d design travel” is one of the projects in which the region’s appeal and characteristics are discov- ered through the dialogue with local people, and they are organized, proposed and operated. We cannot but admit that the land of Japan in the world map is a small country. When we look at its diversity, however, we ourselves will be amazed at how each region has its unique landscape.

  • Nyhaven, Copenhagen,
    2007 Photo: Gehl

    [PUBLIC LIFE]Public Zone 1

    Denmark is a country where walking and bicycling are fun. It has a history that the relationships between various conditions of public spaces and people’s activities have been revealed, and they have been used to develop attractive towns. Is the community comfortably constructed for residents as long as urban space is functional or the frequency of its use is high? It will not be the case. We are pleased to introduce “Public Life Study in Kanazawa,” which learned from architect Jan Gehl’s research on “observation,” “measurement,” “analysis” and “practice” of people using space. We surveyed if there are vibrant spaces in the city of Kanazawa.

  • Børge Mogensen, J39,
    Fredericia Furniture, 1947
    Photo: Fredericia Furniture

    [CHAIR PARADE]Public Zone 2-1

    30 chairs from Japan and Denmark are lined up. You can try sitting on some chairs and spend time relaxing. These chairs are certainly comfortable to sit on, but you can also observe closely the work of the designer and the craftsman carefully attentive to details. It would be great if you could find your favorite chair.

  • Søren Engsted, Levitation, 2010
    © Søren Engsted

    [ANOTHER CHAIR]Public Zone 2-2

    The artistic practice of Søren Engsted makes use of insightful humour to investigate the theme of sculpture in its art historical sense. Film and performance, in particular, allow him to detach everyday objects from their usual physical context and expand the narrative by means of text and sound. In Levitation (2010), a video of a performance, the artist sits cross-legged on a Indian “invisible” chair, framed at the centre of the screen, and tells spectators a number of anecdotes about a range of themes: from human flight to ballet dance, from areal vision to the absence of gravity.

  • Rosa Tolnov Clausen,
    Can a Room be a Loom?, 2014
    (reference image)
    ©Rosa Tolnov Clausen

    [WEAVING]Public Zone 3

    Rosa Tolnov Clausen holds a “Weaving Kiosk” workshop to weave with narrow cloths. While conversations and manual work can be seen in any country, differences in patterns and materials show another aspect of the community. We are planning a project in which visitors go to see the artist’s kiosk during the exhibition period, discuss the origins of cloth and weaving techniques, and collaborate to think about designs to make one fabric.
    Limited duration of October 12 (Thurs.) through 15 (Sun.)


  • 150th Year Anniversary of Japan - Denmark Diplomatic Relations Exhibition Everyday Life – Signs of Awareness

    size: 266×224mm / 224p / Hardcover / cover: Poly-Propylene processing
    ISBN: 978-4-903205-66-3
    date: February 12, 2018
    price: ¥ 5,400- (Japanese Yen)
    publisher: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    Request for inquiry: e-mail: kanazawa21@mybookservice.co.jp



Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)

Supported by:
The Ministry of Culture Denmark / The Committee for Craft and Design, Project Funding, Danish Arts Foundation / Royal Danish Embassy / Hokkoku Shimbun Company

Grants from:
The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation

International patrons:
Kvadrat / Louis Poulsen / Maersk Line / Scan Global Logistics /Actus Co., Ltd. / Nissin Furniture Crafters Co., Ltd. 

Sponsored by:
Bang & Olufsen Japan / Ohizumibussan / Kimura Glass

In cooperation with:
Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery / Scandinavian Airlines / NIHON HOUSE HOLDINGS CO., LTD. / Andersen Co., Ltd. / Forest Maintenance Section, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department, Kanazawa City / Kanazawa Institute of Technology / Gehl / Kajima Institute Publishing Co., Ltd. / Aomori City Board of Education / 51 % / LIXIL Corporation / Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd./DUNE CO.,LTD