Katsuyuki SAKAZUME

Ceramics Exhibition

May 13, 2010 - June 19, 2010
reception: May 13, 6-8 PM

The most distinctive characteristic of ceramic artist, SAKAZUME Katsuyuki’s work, is that it is of the high-fired, unglazed stoneware, known in Japan as yakishime. While he was studying English literature in university, he became fascinated by world of ceramics in which the five elements of ’earth’, ’water’, ’fire', 'wind', and ’void’ collide on a molecular level and fuse together to create unique shapes, almost like the birth of a miniature planet. To enjoy such a planet on the palm of the hand is the philosophy of the tea ceremony and SAKAZUME goes so far as to say that the history of Japanese ceramics begins with the tea bowl. He studied all the literature he could find on archeological digs and used the information he gleaned to create a medieval-style, fifteen meter long, tunnel kiln in which he burns pine wood for anything between fourteen to twenty days, depending on the weather, in order to thoroughly fire tea bowls or art objects of up to two meters in size. These works have survived temperatures in excess of 1,400 degrees centigrade (2,552 Fahrenheit) that are too hot to measure, recreating here on Earth, miniature Earth-like planets whose main constituents are rock and iron.

SAKAZUME began his studies in pottery in Kyushu, and then traveled to Korea where he carried out exhaustive research into kiln construction, eventually building his own large-scale, classic kiln. Later worked as a kiln construction assistant to Hagi potteries 'living national treasure', Miwa Kyusetsu XI, then was dispatched to the U.S.A. by the Japan Foundation as a visiting professor. He remained in the U.S.A. for the next 9 years, interacting energetically with potters' groups there and becoming particularly friendly with the late ceramic artist, Peter Voulkos (Professor of Art, Emeritus, University of California, Berkley), the two men mutually influencing each other's work. While he was still alive, Voulkos remarked that SAKAZUME's sculptural works had a lot in common with the work of the American minimalists. Having mastered the skills of Japanese and Korean ceramics, SAKAZUME explores the origins of human creativity; surpassing culture, history and national borders, his art of earth and fire represent the fundamental essence of the concept, 'less is more'.
SAKAZUME take a handful of clay and discovers universal beauty within it. He continues to produce works in the pursuit of natural sculptural beauty. All excess is removed to produce a poem of form. A physicist friend of his once told him that, 'all matter moves infinitely without pause, and infinity is a law in which order is beauty.' SAKAZUME took these words to heart, saying that artists are people who are capable of capturing the momentary flash of light of this infinitely moving matter and he humbly believes that he is able to grasp this momentary flash of light through earth and fire.

Ippodo NY is proud to present 30 of SAKAZUME's recent works, focusing on his installations and objects. Like the stones that are an essential part of a tea garden, his works conform to Japan's unique aesthetics. The artist will visit the gallery in person for the opening of the exhibition on May 13, his first visit to the U.S.A. in 25 years.

1947 Born in Niigata Pref.
1974-75 Traveled to Korea to conduct research into ancient kilns and kiln construction under the potter, Chi Sun-t aek.
1975 Studied under the 'living national treasure', MIWA Kyusetsu XI, and assisted in the construction of a tunnel kiln. Constructed a kiln with MIWA Kyusetsu XII.
1979-85 Dispatched to the U.S.A. by the Japan Foundation as a visiting professor.
1986- Exhibited ceramic works throughout the country.
2000 Participated in the "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000" (Matsudai-machi)
2003 Appeared in NHK Television documentary "Oribe New York wo iku",
"Contemporary American Ceramics, 1950-1990"
Parallel Exhibition: "SAKAZUME Katsuyuki's Ceramic Space".
2004- Exhibited work around the country.

Received the "Prize for Excellence" at the Japan Contemporary Carved Pottery Exhibition.
Selected for the Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition.

1990 Received "Prize for Excellence" at the 3rd Japan Contemporary Carved Pottery Exhibition (Toki City)
1993 SAKAZUME Katsuyuki Pottery Exhibition, Yoshii Gallery (Tokyo)
1994 SAKAZUME Katsuyuki Exhibition, Gallery Kochukyo (Tokyo)
1995 SAKAZUME Katsuyuki Exhibition, Daiichi Gallery (New York)
1997 Niigata Art '97, The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art (Niigata)
2000 "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000"
2003 "Contemporary American Ceramics, 1950-1990" Parallel Exhibition: "SAKAZUME Katsuyuki's Ceramic Space" Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum (Niigata)
Appeared in NHK Television documentary "Oribe New York o iku"
2009 Niigata Water and Land Art Festival, "Installation Art for Water" (Niigata), etc.

1986 Rockefeller Collection (New York)
1993 Kiyoharu Shirakaba Museum
2002 Nakajomachi Town Tsuji Primary School Monument "Zeami" (Niigata Pref.)
2010 Tainai City Shibahashi Primary School Monument "Fugue" (Niigata Pref.)