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MOON: Tsuki wo koso…
Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana
Special collaborative exhibition to celebrate Kondaya’s 280th anniversary
Ippodo New York’s 10th year anniversary
Special Exhibition

One moon lit night that illuminates the dark night.
A moonlit night, brightly illuminating the dark.
The renowned Kyoto obi sash house, Kondaya Genbey, has partnered with Ippodo to celebrate its own 280th anniversary and Ippodo New York’s 10th anniversary.
To celebrate the occasion, an innovative exhibition was held, showcasing obi sash craftsmanship and Venetian glass.

Kondaya Genbey is a long-established manufacturer and purveyor of obi with a history stretching back over 280 years. During the first year of the Meiji era, “Kondaya” was awarded the “Yokozuna” title by Nishijin Obi Daigen dealer.

In 1980, He succeeded by the current Yamaguchi Genbey X when he was 27 years old. Since then, He had worked with fashion designer Hiroko Koshino, architect Kengo Kuma , painter Toko Matsui. He had been exploring possibilities for the world of Japanese textile and hosting many exhibitions. He sticks to the material making and achieve formidable kills to the one of a kind obi making. His works became well known widely abroad and 7 of his works is now in the London Victorian & Albert museum.

In 1980, and at the young age of 27, Yamaguchi Genbey X took succession of Kondaya Genbey. He has since taken the longstanding techniques handed down from generation to generation in the old capital of Kyoto, and has applied them in many different avenues. He has worked with fashion designer, Hiroko Koshino, architect, Kengo Kuma, painter, Toko Matsui. He is constantly exploring possibilities for the world of Japanese textiles, and has dedicated his efforts to holding many exhibitions. From the meticulous crafting of materials to the masterful skills applied by artisans, all of this goes into the one-of-a-kind artistry of the obi. This pioneering spirit of creativity is widely recognized abroad. Seven of his works are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

On the other had Laura de Santillana is base in Venice. In 1921, her grandfather casted a stone in the glass art industry founded Venini and she was grew up watching him. When she was 18, She moved to New York and worked in the architect and graphic art industry. Before she knows it she started working with the sight of her family’s business which is glass and lights. when she went back to the island when she was 30 years old, she started her work as an glass artist.

The other half of this exhibition features the works of Laura de Santillana, who is based in Venice. In 1921, her grandfather founded Venini, which completely upended classical Venetian glass art at that point. De Santillana grew up watching her grandfather. At the age of 18, she moved to New York and worked in architecture and the graphic arts industry. Before she knew it, she became more involved in her family’s business, engaging with the glass objects or glass light forms that are signatures of the Venini brand. When she was 30 years old, she returned to the island (Venice) and began her career as a glass artist.

Her art is simple yet sophisticated, strong and alive. She is known for her flat glass object and it now in The Metropolitan Museum of art in NYC, Decorative Art museum in Paris etc in world renown museums.

Her art is simple yet sophisticated, strong and alive. She is known for her flat glass objects and her works are now counted in the collections of major world museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, among others.

In regards to her process, it is not only critical to have knowledge on glass, but to also be able to think through the next steps with extreme concentration and decision making while creating.
Four years ago, Genbey and Laura met at Laura de Santillana’s exhibition held at Ginza Ippodo Gallery. Both were brought up in the large cultural hubs that are Kyoto and Venice, respectively. Both are from well-known artisan families. And while their ages and circumstances differed, they were drawn to each other – they’ve felt a shared compassion and respect for one another ever since.

This highly challenging process is inspired but the intangible yet vital element, the breath with the ultimate them of this special collaboration exhibition a poem by Konreimonin from the Heian Period(794-1185):

Many a time have I gazed at the moon,
But never so poignant did it seem, As amid tonight’s star-strewn skies.

Filled with romance and fantasy, this exhibition allows the audience to return to the origins of viewing.

This traveling exhibition will make its way to New York and it will surely capture the hearts of art lovers in the US and all over the world.

1st page

The obi, flying carp and the untitled filled with gold flakes is displayed at a white night with the plum trees blooming.

On a still night, in front of a folding screen depicting the image of a mature plum tree, is the double-woven obi, “Flying Carp”, next to a glass piece, “Untitled”, with suspended flakes of silver leaf. The pieces sit next to each other in a calm harmony, receiving the soft light of the inner garden.

2nd page

The rectangle glass objects changes their faced with the light like the surface of the water.

The rectangular glass pieces that line the main room seemingly change their appearance depending on the given moment; the flakes of silver and gold foil that are suspended in each monotone glass body, shimmers and reflects light like the surface of water moving in the breeze.

The exhibition venue was the eye-catching site of “Kondaya”.

Laura and Genbey enjoying a conversation.

To an artisan, the workshop is a sacred space. While paying mutual respect to one another’s craft while in this sacred space, Genbey and Laura enjoy a conversation together.

3rd page
The main installation of this exhibition.
The main visual used for this exhibition: A magnificent obi with embroidered wisteria and pine motifs, paired with the gold flakes baked into the amber-colored glass – a fantastical resonance that is something to behold.

The permanent collection of Kondaya.
The two obi pieces on the left are made of mother of pearl that has been affixed to washi paper. In order to prevent breaking, a thread of 0.3 mm in thickness is woven through horizontally. An obi of this same type is in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.


This object is inspired by Princess Kaguya.
Bamboo is symbolic of purity and is also considered a good omen. This glass piece, with its rich bamboo coloring, is inspired by the tale of Princess Kaguya and her ascension to the moon.

This one-of-a-kind obi, woven with peacock feathers, is impossible to recreate now, as the original artisans involved have advanced in age.


Rinpa: Silver Waves Lacquer works by Tohru Matsuzaki

November 1-21, 2018
(Tue.-Sat. 11a.m. – 6p.m.)
Opening Reception : Thursday, November 1, 6 – 8 p.m.

New York, NY, September 29th, 2018 ー Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present its latest exhibition, “ Rinpa: Silver Waves”, a solo showcase of lacquer wares by Tohru Matsuzaki (b. 1944) will be on view for November 1 – November 21.

His deep understanding of Japanese artistry has flourished through a lifelong journey of vitality and self-discovery, leading to unique and inventive works which remain useful and subtle in design.

Tohru Matsuzaki lives and works in a beautiful gated residence in Motegi, just north of Tokyo. It is a stone’s throw from the renowned pottery center of Mashiko, where ceramic artist Shoji Hamada first cultivated the folk art movement Mingei in 1930. And so, past and future coexist in this quiet enclave, as our artist continues to create. Today, he is widely celebrated, and heads the Kougeibu (Craft Division) of the influential artists’ association Kokugakai.

Matsuzaki’s appreciation of form and function was fused by his unprecedented work ethic. Seemingly rough around the edges but equally familiar and kind, the artist’s sense of self is synonymous with the pieces on display. Although his father was a Nihonga painter, in 1974, Matsuzaki’s pursuit of lacquer study proved he was as fascinated by its significance in traditional Japanese culture as by its humble, functional origins–particularly Mingei, or folk art. As such, Matsuzaki’s experimentation remains exceptional, essentially creating his own genre.

At first, he worked solely in the natural tones of the red and clear lacquer on wood, only adding the matte-finished black lacquer to his portfolio. This stands apart from the typical works of the period, in what Asian art specialist Martin Barnes has called, “tactile in a very unpretentious way, not obviously rustic like some Mingei lacquer.”

Matsuzaki approaches the process with his trademark energy and unique eye. He hollows out the wood, shapes it, then applies and reapplies the thick coats of fresh lacquer, accenting with cinnabar for red. In this methodology, he has uncovered a means to express his individuality: a technique rooted in simplicity and strength. The beauty of Matsuzaki’s work lies in this dual significance. The silver waves tell the story.

These silver waves evoke the whimsy of the Rinpa movement, the Japanese art category established in the 17th century. As director Shoko Aono explains, “His sculptural works capture the viewer’s heart. Carved from single pieces of 400-to 500 year-old zelkova, horse chestnut or chestnut timber that have been dried for more than twenty years, they do not warp. The beauty of the numerous coats of black or vermillion lacquer awake ancient memories of the Jōmon period that lie dormant within us.”

And so, Ippodo gallery invites you to awaken. The exhibition runs from November 1 to 21 at Ippodo Gallery’s New York location.


Tohru Matsuzaki
1944 Born in the Umegaoka district of Tokyo, the eldest son of Nihonga-style painter and dyer, Shu-ki Matsuzaki
1967 Graduated from the Literature Department of Tamagawa University
1974 Studied under the potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka
1982 First selected for the Kokugakai exhibition. 1983: received the Kokugakai New Talent Award.
1984: became affiliate member.
1987: received the Kokugakai Affiliate Award for Excellence
1988 Nominated for membership of the Kokugakai. Moved his studio to Motegi-machi, Tochigi Prefecture
2001 Produced the vases for Daniel Ost’s ‘Daniel Ost Flower Festival’ in Tokyo
2002 Contributed to Shigeru Uchida’s Exhibit at the ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2002’ (Milan, Italy)
2003 Participated in the ‘Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth Century Japan’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2006-2009 Become a Chairman of the Judging Committee of Craft Section of the Kokugakai 2009 Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York (New York, U.S.A.)
Collections: Schleswig Folk Museum (Schleswig, Germany) Kuri no Ki Museum (Nagano, Japan)
2009,2012: Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York
1996-Present Exhibition at Ippodo Gallery Tokyo

In addition, holds various solo and group exhibitions throughout the country.

Public Collection :
Philadelphia Museum of Art / Philadelphia, PA
Detroit Institute of Arts / Detroit, MI
University of Michigan Museum of Art / Ann Arbor, MI
Schleswig Folk Museum / Schleswig, Germany
Kuri no Ki Museum / Nagano, Japan
12 East 86th street, # 507 ( between Fifth & Madison Avenues ) New York, NY 10028
T. +1.212. 967. 4899
Tue. – Sat. : 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Please follow us on Twitter (@ippodogallery), Facebook (@ippodogallery), Instagram (@ippodogallery), and Vimeo (@Shoko Aono)Youtube (Ippodo Gallery NY).

Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana Moon : Tsuki wo koso …

Special collaboration exhibition celebrates Kondaya’s 280th anniversary

Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana
Moon : Tsuki wo koso …

October 6th ~ 8th, 2018

Venue: Kondaya
Muromachi-sanjosagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan

Many a time have I gazed at the moon
But never so poignant did it seem
As amid tonight’s star-strewn skies

Poem by Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu (ca. 1157 – ca. 1233),
Japanese noblewoman, Heian Period (794 – 1185)

Our installation images from the exclusive exhibition in Kyoto.

Between Forms : The Terracotta Cosmos by Mokichi Otsuka September 06, 2018 – September 28, 2018

Opening Reception with artist : September 6, 6-8 p.m.

Mon. – Fri. : 11 6 p.m.
Saturdays by appointment.


Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present terracotta works by Mokichi Otsuka (b. 1956), displayed from September 6 to 28, 2018.

Explorations of form take shape with two recurrent motifs—predominately women and cats. Female heads, busts and hands bear reference to the Greco-Roman tradition of seeking an idealized womanly figure in a three-dimensional world, and the terracotta medium to the history of pottery and its life-bearing properties. Under the tutelage of Italian sculptor Aldo Rontini in Faenza, Italy, Otsuka was encouraged to harness the power of ancient traditions through ceramic tiles. Following five years of illness, a chance encounter with the ancient Greek goddess Kore solidified his interest in the seemingly inexpressible vitality of humanity, and eternal fascination with Western heritage.

And yet, Otsuka’s work takes on a contemporary relevance in its homage to Eastern traditions, in that it looks inward. Particularly in the new cat works, sharp, long eyes bear reference at once to the hollowed and unattainable women of Modigliani paintings, Egyptian and Nepalese deities, and even the Noh masks of Japanese theater. Their ability to transcend art historical moments means that their fluidity succeeds in achieving its distance, personifying the value of life in Western antiquity while also encapsulating the unknowable inner life prevalent in Buddhist teachings.

As they bridge the worlds of Greco-Roman and Japanese art, Otsuka’s terracotta wares are unique. Even as the concepts endure, the artist deviates from prehistoric Japanese ceramic aesthetics and their contemporary experimentational counterparts. Pieces are fired at 1060° Celsius (1940° Fahrenheit), in an entirely unique process he continues to innovate. Most recently, he has developed a deeply symbolic and significant perforation technique.

What began as red clay inlaid with white dots has evolved to perforations in white clay. Naturally occurring cracks are left as part of the work to reveal its soul. These holes are a window to the cosmos, undulating in patterns and creating a passage between worlds. They symbolize nature’s energy, encapsulating the inexpressible theories crescendoing in each work of art.

Otsuka has found solace in the expression of mind and body through his works. He pursued extensive education to expand his universe, first in Japanese painting at the graduate school of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (present- day Tokyo University of Art) in 1981, and later at the Istituto Statale d’Arte per la Ceramica Gaetano, in Faenza, Italy in 1994, where he has continued to exhibit annually since 2006.

As such, Otsuka’s unique fusion of cultural influences has been exhibited namely in the regions where he has drawn inspiration: his home country of Japan, and his beloved Italy. He has held solo exhibitions throughout Japan and Italy, as well as at the 4th Ceramics Biennale in Cairo, Egypt, in 1998. Ippodo is happy to announce that this is the first Mokichi Otsuka show in New York City.

This exhibition also marks a transformation in the ethos of Ippodo Gallery. The message of the gallery has always been in sync with the natural world, but increasing diplomatic engagements are solidifying its place in the canon of cross-culturalism. May this exhibition be a continue culmination of exchange of Japanese culture with the Western world.

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

‘Peace is …Coexistence’ at the United Nations on May 18th was a big success !

The 7th ‘ Peace is …’ Event at the United Nations on May 18th was a big success! The audience enthusiastically shared the spirit of Coexistence and Innovation through our ZEN-An ( the suitcase tea house designed Kuniji Tsubaki ) presentation.
The calligraphy ‘Kyo Sei’ (Coexistence) by Suikei Saito made beautiful harmony with ZEN-An, and our selected tea bowls entertained each ambassador with ITO-EN’s green tea.
Thank you for all the wonderful team work Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council, ITO EN, TATE Hatoryu NY Japanese Sword Fight Performing Arts, and Mai Fujisawa !
( photos © 2018 Douglas Dubler and © Tokio Kuniyoshi )

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi