Open today 10-20
Photo: The Round Tower

MEISEN KIMONO – Art for Wall and to Wear

The Library Hall
Included in entrance ticket

MEISEN KIMONO – Art for Wall and to Wear

Discover a world of bold colour and beautiful patterns when Danish artist and textile designer Henriette Friis showcases her large private collection of Japanese Meisen silk kimonos.

The whole world walks through the Round Tower. This summer, a colorful surge of inspiration from Japan envelops the Library Hall in an exhibition curating a large number of long and short kimonos from Henriette Friis’ private collection.

The Meisen kimono became popular in Japan in the beginning of the 20th century after a cultural and technological exchange between Japan and the West had made the silk kimono more economically accessible. Earlier, silk kimonos were reserved for the wealthy but with the Meisen kimono, middle-class Japanese women were able to afford fashionable silk kimonos in new, bold designs inspired by European art movements.

Cross-country inspiration

The handpicked pieces curated in the exhibition originate from the heyday of the Meisen kimono between 1910 and 1955 where Japanese kimono artists drew inspiration from Western art. Traditional figurative motifs were being challenged by large, colourful patterns and compositions, large stylized florals and non-figurative abstractions inspired by art movements such as Art Nouveau, Art Déco, De Stijl and Cubism.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, these boomed in popularity among middle-class urban women who expressed themselves by dressing in the new designs. Later on, these very same kimonos and compositions inspired Western textile design, such as Finnish Marimekko.

“MEISEN KIMONO – Art for Wall and to Wear” is curated by Henriette Friis and presented in collaboration with the Round Tower. The exhibition is supported by the Toyota Foundation.

Please note! The exhibition is open until August 20th at 14:00 where we will begin taking it down to prepare for our next exhibition.

About Henriette Friis

Henriette Friis with a selection of her kimonos. Photo: The Round Tower

Henriette Friis has a background as an artist and textile designer. In the exhibition “Meisen Kimono – Art for Wall and to Wear” she presents silk kimonos from her own private collection. She first became aware of the Meisen kimono during her education in which she was tutored by a Japanese silk painter. Throughout the last 30 years, she has gathered an impressive collection of these special kimonos.

Throughout the exhibition period, a limited number of kimonos from Henriette Friis’ collection will be put up for sale in the Round Tower’s shop.