The EARTH -An Exhibition of Five Young Japanese Ceramic Artists-
UCHIDA Koichi, TSUJIMURA Yui, TSUJIMURA Kai, IZUMITA Yukiya and ISHIYAMA Tetsuya
November 03, 2011 - December 30, 2011
Opening Reception: November 3 (Thurs) 6-8pm
Since prehistoric times, mankind has kneaded clay to create pots for a variety of uses. Ceramic culture has remained a major industry and continues to develop to this day, the combination of the elements of earth, fire and water having been sublimated to art. This is especially true in Japan where particular significance is placed on the art crafts within daily life, in addition, the tea ceremony allowed a rich ceramic culture to blossom, resulting in there being more potters per head of population than in any other nation in the world. The five artists who take part in this exhibition all come from separate backgrounds and have quite different personalities, but they share a high degree of skill and the power of expression to explore the possibilities of expression through clay.
UCHIDA Koichi was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1969, his parents ran an ironworks and he grew up making things from pieces of scrap metal. After graduating from Ceramics High School he traveled around South-East Asia, India, West Africa and Europe, where he worked with potters in a variety of countries. That was when he realized the innate desire felt by humans to 'fire clay' and cultural significance this possesses. In between his trips overseas, he worked at a pottery in the town of Yokkaichi, throwing several hundred flowerpots everyday and becoming sympathetic towards the skills of the potter's wheel. 'The Earth is turning. A car moves by turning its wheels, everything moves through turning, even religion, with the cycle of reincarnation...' In 1992, at the age of 23, he built his own kiln in Yokkaichi. 'Turning' the clay, applying pressure from the within to create the shape on a wheel, he has produced works like the large pot in this exhibition which contain dynamic forms and cosmic energy, harmonizing the two extremes of the power of nature and the power of human civilization to give birth to works that combine both primitive and contemporary worlds.
TSUJIMURA Yui was born in Nara Prefecture in 1975, the eldest son of the world-famous potter, TSUJIMURA Shiro. He began to study under his father at the age of eighteen, developing a style that comprises of works in completely original shapes that are finished in a blue that catches the heart of the viewer. Using finest quality clay from the Shigaraki and Iga areas, the forms he produces are strongly influenced by those of sue ware, a kind of unglazed pottery that was introduced from the continent in the seventh century and continued to be produced in Japan until the twelfth century. Fired at high temperatures using a reducing flame in an anagama (cellar kiln), he creates a vibrant, blue-green natural ash glaze that is unique to his work. His footless vases, fantastically high pots, etc. embody the freedom of ancient times and the large, cocoon-shaped pot in this exhibition is unable to stand on its own. One of his large pots was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2010 for its permanent collection.
TSUJIMURA Kai is the second son of TSUJIMURA Shiro and was born in 1976. He produces pots in a wide range of styles, including Iga, Karatsu, Bizen, Shino, Kohiki and Shigaraki, mastering traditional traditions in a way that is quite remarkable for somebody so young. Living in the mountains of Nara Prefecture, he devotes himself everyday to his creativity. His painstakingly made tea bowls and vases, small pots and containers all epitomize the concept of 'functional beauty', exploring the subdued, simple refinement that defines Japanese aesthetics. He also produces large pots embodying the power of his youth and one of these was acquired in the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2010. This exhibition will present many of these large pots that can be said to be representative of his work.
IZUMITA Yukiya was born in 1966 in Iwate Prefecture, and from the age of twenty-six, he studied the local kokuji-ware style of pottery under the kokuji-ware master Gakuho Shimodake. Kokuji-ware is produced in Kuji City, using local clay with tohakuyu (white glaze) and ameyu (caramel glaze) to produce works characterized by their simplicity. The majority of works are everyday items for use in the home and won acclaim from YANAGI Soetsu (1889-1961), who founded the mingei undo (folk crafts movement) in the 1920s. IZUMITA opened his own kiln in Noda Village in 1992 and ever since he has produced creative objets d'art as well as new forms of vase. 'When I try to express the nature of the Earth, I look for the answer in its roughness, fragility and transience, its tension and lightness.' The various of vases he is showing in this exhibition present a texture in which the gentle and coarse aspects of the clay have been interwoven to produce works that display multifaceted angles, reminiscent of the expression of the mountains, valleys and seas on Earth.
ISHIYAMA Tetsuya was born in Saitama Prefecture in 1973. In 1991 he became a potter in order to recreate works discovered at an archeological dig and perhaps as a result of this experience, his work always deals with expressions of the passage of 'time'. 'Innumerable "nows" make up the strata of the Earth, as symbolized by the dazzling statues of Buddha that gradually lost their gold and silver over the passage of time to return to their original form. This is the time that I try to capture through form.' In this exhibition he presents earth-colored pots and water containers with uniformly fine inlay work, 'crystal' objets d'art that take the appearance of minerals and tea bowls with matte gold or silver glaze applied on a shaved surface, all of them completely original, new works.
Today, when we see natural disasters happening around the globe, the time has come for mankind to question anew our relationship with the Earth.
This exhibition presents the works of five young, contemporary potters, from a variety of backgrounds, who imbue their work with a rich individualistic creativity, but coexist in complete harmony with each other to produce a 'ceramic concerto', enabling us to rediscover the energy and beauty to be discovered in the earth.