Exhibition information

kyoto ddd gallery the 220th Exhibition TAMON YAHAGI -engawa: the open book veranda

March 30, 2019 - June 19, 2019

Tamon Yahagi
Tamon Yahagi
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    Yahagi Tamon is Kyoto-based designer known for his unique approach to making books. He received no formal education in art or design; however, while living mostly in India during his teens after refusing to attend middle school, he independently took up pen drawing and his talent began to be recognised.
In 2002, upon publishing his first book, Indo Marugoto Tamonten (Shunpusha), Tamon got involved in books and has since worked as a freelance book designer on over 500 volumes from various publishing houses, large and small.
In 2012, he moved his work base to Kyoto and has expanded his various books-related activities.

    In his book Guzen no soteika (Book Designer by Accident, Shobunsha), Tamon writes about his creative activities. “Encounters between people, tiny words and experiences have kept changing me and made my current work possible.” For Tamon, ”making books”, is a word that does not merely refer to the designing process. What he considers to be the essence of bookmaking is the way how people involved: paper manufacturers, designers, print workers, binders and salesmen pass on the idea as if a baton, until a book is sent to the world and delivered to the reader. This is how Tamon explains the idea behind the exhibition titled “Engawa: the open book veranda”

    “I think that books are a bit like ‘engawa,’ an open veranda. A single book can lead to an encounter with a stranger. Conversations can begin from casually turning pages. In the vicinity of books there is always a bustle as well as a place to sit down by yourself. … Book design is not meant to catch the eye of the reader and neither is it a respected art form. However difficult a scholarly book might seem, before long paper and ink will help bring out its coziness. However trivial a book might seem, by becoming the light in dark times, it will shine the warmth of people made of flesh and blood. I have been making books, praying that somehow they will become such things.” (From Introduction)

    At this exhibition you can hold in your hand and browse all 500 plus books Tamon has designed so far. In addition, his rough sketches are on display and the design process is explained in detail. There are also descriptions of his various past projects such as work with the Indian publisher Tara Books, renowned for its handmade picture books; launching of the small press Ambooks with the concept “create small, deliver small”; bookmaking workshops for primary school kids about “why do people make books”; and trips to the various sites of paper making home and abroad. Please stop by at “The Engawa of Books” where the pleasure of bookmaking is complemented by a sense of new possibilities lurking in the vicinity of books.

Opening Paety

Date: March 30, 2019 (SAT)
Venue: kyoto ddd gallery
admission free


●Printing    Playing with “bumpy print” (age 3 and older)
Let’s enjoy printing by making use of scrap and bumps of the objects around us!

●Editing    The one and only photo book in the world (age 8 and older)
Walking the streets with a camera in hand, taking pictures, editing, binding… Let’s make a bellows-shaped photo book!

●Binding    Let’s make the first book on Earth (age 11 and older)
What if there were no books in this world? Two days of thinking about and creating a book with an entirely new shape never seen before.