Japan: Arts and Life


Among the many ways one can approach a distant country, there are studies, travel, and a special sensitivity that allow a person to distinctly interpret the reasons behind a culture. In the case of Jeffrey Montgomery and his splendid collection all three of these elements interact in a surprisingly harmonious way. The works he has collected during his lifetime lead to the very heart of Japanese art, accompanying us on a fascinating journey to discover the aesthetic ideals of a civilization that goes back millennia. Published on the occasion of the exhibition in Lugano, the volume presents one hundred and seventy works from the period between the 12th and 20th centuries – including textiles, furniture, paintings, religious and everyday-objects – carefully selected from the over one thousand objects collected over a lifetime by Jeffrey Montgomery.

Renowned worldwide, the Montgomery Collection displays an extraordinary richness and a very singular substance: it is a collection of “oriental art”, and at the same time it expressed a “folk culture” reinterpreted in very elevated aesthetic terms by the elegant and refined choices made by the collector who had dedicated his entire life to it.

Edited by Francesco Paolo Campione, in collaboration with Moira Luraschi, Japan Arts and Life contains the essays by Francesco Paolo Campione (An Impermanent Journey between Art and Life); Matthi Forrer (Collecting Japanese Art Objects); Rossella Menegazzo (The Other Side of Japan. The Jeffrey Montgomery Collection between Art, Crafts, and Folklore); Giorgio Amitrano (Japan, the Beautiful, and Ourselves); Imogen Heitmann (The Museographical Display as a Creative ‘Meta-work’). The volume presents also the catalogue and the entries of the works, edited by Moira Luraschi and divided into thematic sections (Paintings; Woven objects; Hooks and counterweights; Ceramics; Fabrics; Lanterns; Masks; Furniture; Signs; Kettles and pourers; Sculptures; Lacquers).