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Beauty in Imperfection

Curated by Atsuko Barouh

Ace Hotel New York

January 16 - 31 2019

Boro textile, courtesy of Atsuko Barouh

Boro textile, courtesy of Atsuko Barouh


Wednesday January 16 - Thursday January 31, 2019

Ace Hotel Gallery
20 W 29th St
New York, NY 10001

Opening Reception:
5:00 – 7:00 PM, Wednesday January 16, 2019

Free and open to the public at Gallery


Commonly associated with peasant farming classes, Boro are a class of Japanese textiles which have been mended or patched together. The term is derived from the Japanese “boroboro”, meaning "something tattered or repaired". During the 19th century Edo period, materials like silk and cotton were reserved for a select portion of the upper class while hemp fabrics were widely used by working-class peoples. Out of economic necessity, working peoples’ garments were mended with spare scraps of fabric and passed on through generations, resulting is a patchwork of indigo blue, brown, grey or black – dyes available to the Japanese commoners.

In the 20 century, with the general rise in living standards amongst the majority of the Japanese population, most Boro pieces were discarded and replaced by newer clothing. To working class people, these Boro garments were an embarrassing reminder of their former poverty, and very few families kept Boro as souvenirs. But Boro, Barouh informs us, can be seen as an antidote to the fast-fashion world. These garments are imbued with the concept of 'Wabi sabi’; an aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, the art of finding beauty in the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

Curated by Atsuko Barouh, Beauty in Imperfection is presented in partnership with the Ace Hotel and Outsider Art Fair 2019.

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