été 10th Anniversary Exhibition

Natsuko Shoji

 

July 24 – 25, 2024
Gallery hours: 11:00〜19:00

※Entry on July 24th(Wed)is by reservation only.
Please make your reservation here

Artist:Natsuko Shoji
Flower Arrangement:Azuma Makoto
Exhibition Logo:VERDY
Organization:Kaikai Kiki Gallery
Special Sponsorship:Sky Co., Ltd.
Cooperation:Dom Pérignon

Chef: Natsuko Shoji / Flower Design: Azuma Makoto / Photograph: Shiinoki Shunsuke

 

Kaikai Kiki Gallery is pleased to present the “été 10th Anniversary Exhibition” (Special Sponsorship: Sky Co., Ltd.).

Natsuko Shoji, the owner and chef of the restaurant “été,” was awarded the “Best Pastry Chef Award” in the “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” in 2020 and the “Asia’s Best Female Chef Award” from the same organization in 2022. Her culinary creations, backed by an extraordinary sense of aesthetics, have continually garnered attention as a unique realm worthy of being called art. One of Shoji’s signature creations is the “Fleurs d’été,” a mango tart designed to resemble a rose, which shines inside the black box of “été.” “été” began in a single apartment room in 2014 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.


 

 

Chef: Natsuko Shoji / Flower Design: Azuma Makoto / Photograph: Shiinoki Shunsuke


Exhibition Outline

For the 10th-anniversary exhibition, Shoji has orchestrated a collaboration with Makoto Azuma, a flower artist with whom she has longstanding ties. Shoji, known for pursuing food as art, resonates with Azuma, who explores flowers as art at his haute couture flower shop “JARDINS des FLEURS” in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo. Together, they bring a stunning showcase where cakes gleam like jewelry and flowers exude ethereal beauty.

At the gallery, there will be nine boxes displaying cakes and flower arrangements inspired by the themes of each cake. Visitors will explore a space designed to give the impression of giant cakes lined up while enjoying the distinctive visual stories of each piece.

On the first day of the exhibition, there will be a special “edible exhibit.” Within installations adorned with flowers, visitors can “pick” and taste items like mango tart and seasonal fruits, experiencing it with all five senses including taste, sight, touch, and smell.

For the second day, visitors will receive flowers used in the installations. Bouquets crafted by Azuma’s team will be presented in specially designed bags for this “flower distribution,” resembling the packaging of été cakes for a delightful takeaway experience.

The title logo of this exhibition was designed by VERDY, a longtime collaborator and friend of Shoji.


 

 

Chef: Natsuko Shoji / Flower Design: Azuma Makoto / Photograph: Shiinoki Shunsuke

(2) ©Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


About items sold at the venue

To commemorate été’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, the Mango Tart, which became Natsuko Shoji’s starting origin and signature dessert, will be sold in a special 10th Anniversary package with a plant-based recipe and an easier-to-eat size than usual. It will be available for purchase to the first 100 visitors.

Details of the sales will be announced at the following website.

An original keychain designed in collaboration with VERDY’s “Girls Don’t Cry” will also be included along with the purchase.
The keychain is in a limited-edition orange color that complements the mango tart, making it an item that is sure to be a hit with fans.

Please make your reservation here

Furthermore, we will release collaboration artworks by Shoji and Azuma as posters and card sets. We invite you to take home these art pieces that blend food and flowers with lasting memories of the exhibition.


 

 


 

Poster(A2 size・2 types/¥2,000- each, tax in.)

Card set(A5 size・11 cards/¥2,500- tax in.)


Message from the artist

été is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Although I had registered the opening day as July 25, for Natsuko’s day [as 7-2-5 could sound similar to “Na-tsu-ko”], to be honest the exact date remains uncertain since at the start I was filled with despair and utter misery.
However, a decade has swiftly passed since the creation of my now-iconic mango tart, and I have had the honor of welcoming numerous customers and friends. I have nothing but gratitude to everyone who has supported me along the way.
I have long pondered how to express this passion for creation that boils within me— a feverish passion that has driven me for over a decade, often accompanied by bouts of anger and regret.

Food becomes part of our flesh, blood, and body; likewise, the cycle of a flower blooming, withering, and returning to the earth is beautiful, sensual, and fleeting. I believe the common thread in all of this is that they are magnificent artforms infused with passion.

I strongly wished to present the culmination of my 10-year journey and to pay homage to the world of culinary arts, where I belong, and to those who have supported me. I am thrilled, then, to be showcasing my work in collaboration with Makoto Azuma’s JARDINS des FLEURS team and Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery. Additionally, we will unveil exclusive items featuring the 10th-anniversary logo designed by my dear friend and graphic artist, VERDY.
It is an exhibition fully infused with life and spirit that touches your heart, and I would be delighted to welcome many visitors.

We also sincerely thank Sky Co., Ltd. for your special sponsorship and support, including the future of the culinary industry. We will dedicate our lives to spreading Japan’s unique beauty to the world!

Natsuko Shoji


Natsuko Shoji

Born in 1989 in Tokyo. She graduated from the Food Department at Komaba Gakuen High School. At 24, she opened the sweets specialty shop “été,” followed by a restaurant with a pasty shop attached to it the next year. In 2020, she was awarded the “Best Pastry Chef Award” and in 2022, “Asia’s Best Female Chef Award” from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.


 

 

 


Message from the collaborators

The sweets Chef Shoji of été creates are works of art: a beautiful mango tart modeled after rose petals; geometrically arranged strawberries and muscat grapes; and delicate cherry blossom candy sculptures scattered on cakes. In celebration of été’s 10th anniversary, we collaborated to produce ten works that blend her stunning cakes with my floral arrangements.
The ingredients she works with also have life, which is why they integrate so seamlessly into my works, which deal with natural life in the form of flowers. Chef Shoji is a fellow artisan who enhances the life entrusted to her by nature with human creativity and crafts works that bring joy and inspiration to others. I hope she continues to blaze her culinary trail and inspire many more.

Azuma Makoto
(Flower Artist)


 

 


Message from the gallery owner

We are officially holding Natsuko Shoji’s exhibition at Kaikai Kiki Gallery. She will have full creative freedom, and that makes this project a significant undertaking; our ace, Chiaki Kasahara, will produce it fully hands-on, inevitably turning it into a full-scale exhibition.
Kasahara is a seasoned professional who has been my—Takashi Murakami’s—producer for over 20 years. With her full involvement, I certainly expect this to become a major event.

Natsuko-san has often mentioned wanting to preserve food culture, which is hard to preserve, in a tangible form, obsessing with photographing. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what she meant until a few weeks ago when I saw a particular photo and felt I finally got it. After discussing with Kasahara, we decided to rethink the exhibition around this concept. I believe the exhibition now has a solid core.

It’s self-evident that Natsuko Shoji excels in creating cakes and French cuisine, but she also possesses both the unique communication difficulties often associated with genius and an extraordinary sense of scale; I can relate to her in many ways. Given how challenging it is for someone with such genius traits to fit into Japanese society, I’m impressed at how well she navigates life here.
I believe that such geniuses shouldn’t be confined to Japan, that they should venture out into the world because working in other countries against the odds can polish their extraordinary talents further. The space where world-class talent can truly shine is a truly, furiously intense area, and there is a drastic difference between living constantly with that intensity and occasionally visiting abroad to do pop-ups, for instance.

I have repeatedly pushed this idea to her, but each time, she emphasized the importance of Japanese ingredients and the necessity of living in Japan in order to express Japanese culture. So I stopped bringing it up. But in truth, I still believe that she should establish another base abroad and actively experience all the challenges that come with it.

I do hope to see Natsuko-san’s unparalleled, furious bloom of genius in my lifetime. For this exhibition, I am excited about her unconventional collaboration with the flower artist, Makoto Azuma, another total eccentric. I expect we will be able to witness an extraordinary creative expression.
Go crazy. Seriously!!

Takashi Murakami


Message from the producer

The day I first met Natsuko Shoji, sparkling energy burst into our Zingaro office in Nakano Broadway. I knew little about her at that time, but the powerful energy radiating from her entire being left a strong impression on me.
Over the past five years since, Shoji has collaborated with Takashi Murakami as well as MADSAKI. For the Gala Dinner for Murakami’s solo exhibition in Kyoto earlier this year, she crafted an original cake for the guests, dedicating three days on site for production. Through these partnerships over the years, I have come to realize that Shoji’s exceptional passion defines her as a truly outstanding creator. Moreover, Shoji kindly supported our Tonari no Kaikado during its infancy before we had a dedicated pastry chef or facility; her sincere and unwavering dedication to craftsmanship has always been evident in her action.
When I heard from Shoji about été’s 10th anniversary, proposing an exhibition with us therefore felt like a natural progression. Shoji embodies the idea of food as art with her entire being. It is an honor for me to present, with sincere respect, Natsuko Shoji as an artist and to celebrate été’s 10 years as art at Kaikai Kiki Gallery.

Chiaki Kasahara
(Kaikai Kiki Producer)


Outline of the event

été 10th Anniversary Exhibition

Artist: Natsuko Shoji
Flower Arrangement: Azuma Makoto
Exhibition Logo: VERDY
Organization: Kaikai Kiki Gallery

Special Sponsorship:Sky Co., Ltd.

Cooperation

Page Top