22 Aug – 28 Sep 2019

Yoko Yoichi Yajima / Yuka Fukushima / Takayuki Matsumoto

Titled ‘TOUCH·SMELL·TASTE’, SYNONYM’s first curatorial interactive presentation brings together the works of Yoko Yoichi Yajima, Yuka Fukushima and Takayuki Matsumoto, the showcase aspires to re-evaluate the efficiency of five senses as a universal language.

As part of the presentation, visitors are welcome to taste N bottle letter / TeaBitter – infused gin and tonic.

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Born in Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, Yoko Yoichi Yajima 矢嶋 ヨーコ 洋一 is a Japanese ceramist, worked as a computing engineer for 25 years, he attended Aichi Prefectural Seto Pottery Senior School upon discovering his alter-ego: Yoko. After graduation in 2005, Yajima continuously participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Japan and Taiwan throughout the years, including Art Kyoto 2012. For more stories of Yajima please follow the link.

A drastic change in career many would consider, Yajima is an extremely quiet person who wilfully shies away from the limelight, “I’m not very good with words so my works will instead have to do the talking,” he explains, “I committed to pottery at my 40s because I enjoyed playing with clay since young, when I realised my other identity, the craft naturally became the right expression for my inner-self.” Yajima looks to reinterpret the Mino 美濃 heritage which dates back 1300 years, a distinctive sense of rawness radiates from his works, celebrating the innate quality of the material.

In the series Yajima created exclusively for the 'TouchSmellTaste' presentation, he applied bold and vibrant coloured yuyaku 釉薬 glaze to the pottery which is contrastively unique from the traditional Oribe-yaki 織部焼 originated from the Mino area. Now lives and works in Toki City 土岐市, Gifu Prefecture 岐阜県 in Japan, Yajima also crafts fashion accessories and other sculptural objects like high-heeled-shaped vase in his atelier.

Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. Growing up in a family of florists, Yuka Fukushima フクシマ ユカ became acquainted with greens and flowers since a young age. For a further conversation we had with Fukushima please head over to our Journal.

Studied at Hana Ami Blumenschule 花阿彌 ブルーメンシューレ led by Kazumasa Kubo 久保 数政 and Gabriele Kubo, Fukushima was exposed to the European floristry in the summer of 2002, when she visited Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan, a national school in Germany specialised in floral design. Subsequently in 2008, Fukushima won the Hanaami Competition where it was judged by an esteemed panel included Gregor Lersch, one of the world’s pioneers in the industry.

Starting from 2019, after a considerable amount of time working with the family, Fukushima was determined to pursue her career as an independent floral designer and launched a new business under her own name devoted to the creation of haute-couture floral art. The showcase 'TouchSmellTaste' at Space SYNONYM presents Fukushima’s first-ever floral installation as well as objects inspired by distillation and the Proust effect, where she looked to widen the possibilities of scent and demonstrate the beauty of impermanence.

Takayuki Matsumoto 松本 貴之 was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan.

After years of training and practices in a number of restaurants in Japan, Matsumoto established his own conceptual bar inspired by Japanese teahouse in 2009 named ‘Bar N’ in the centre of Nagoya, with ‘N’ standing for ‘Neutrality’ where all drinks and liquors are treated equally in the space with their names and brands eliminated.

Matsumoto had collaborated with architect Hiroyuki Miyake 三宅 博之 on a design project titled ‘Major Calendar’ (2011), where the final product aimed to redefine the universal measuring rule of time, it was featured on numerous design media including Dezeen.

SYNONYM would like to present ‘N bottle letter’, a new project dedicated to scented alcohol infusion by Matsumoto. Like the title suggests, the project is inspired by a message in a bottle where Matsumoto hopes to initiate a dialogue with the receiver of the bottle, by delivering a unique method of reinterpreting the creation of cocktails with a mathematical approach. The first featured release is TeaBitter, an infusion of gin and tonic, this product will be serialised in the future.