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PURE FORM

The Art Gallery of South Australia Presents Japan's Avant-Garde Ceramics

May, 2022
Tanaka Yū, born Ehime prefecture 1989, Yellow sculpture in the shape of a furoshiki, c.2018, Kyoto, stoneware, matte glaze, 46.0 x 54.0 x 38.5 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Tanaka Yū, photo: Hazuki Kani

Japan’s centuries-old crafts are well known, here materials were explored and respected through their final use and presentation, and ceramics are among them one of the most revered. Functional or sculptural, Japanese ceramics are made with skill and passion, over time refined and challenged with new techniques and innovations.

Pure Form: Japanese sculptural ceramics, the latest exhibition to open at the Art Gallery of South Australia, uncovers the avant-garde ceramics movement that emerged in mid-20th century Japan following the Second World War. This movement began in Kyoto, led by a group of young potters, aiming to transcend tradition and existing perceptions of ceramic design. Of particular note, they prioritised form over function.

At AGSA, more than 100 objects made from earthenware, stoneware and porcelain have been compiled for Pure Form, curated by Russell Kelty. Craftspeople such as Fumio Matsutani and Ken Mihara were prominent in their field, and the emergence of female makers and their creativity also found their spotlight during this time, with ceramicists such as Eiko Kishi evolving in their practise.

Presented in Gallery 21, the space provides a fitting display for the ceramic sculptures exhibited in Pure Form. Each sculpture is well-lit and carefully positioned (most are not behind a glass casing) so that their natural forms, materials and tones can be closely studied. Not to miss, the exhibition runs until 6 November, 2022.

Matsutani Fumio, born Ehime prefecture 1975, Yellow (Ou), 2021, Ehime prefecture, stoneware, 43.2 x 52.3 x 28.2 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Matsutani Fumio, photo: Grant Hancock
detail: Matsutani Fumio, born Ehime prefecture 1975, Yellow (Ou), 2021, Ehime prefecture, stoneware, 43.2 x 52.3 x 28.2 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Matsutani Fumio, photo: Grant Hancock
Nagae Shigekazu, born Seto, Aichi prefecture 1953, Moving forms, c.2012, Seto, Aichi prefecture, slip-cast porcelain, glaze; Collection of Raphy Star, © Nagae Shigekazu, photo: Grant Hancock
Kishi Eiko, born Nara prefecture, Japan 1948, Water vessel (mizuzashi) saiseki zōgan, 2005, Kyoto, Shigaraki stoneware with colored clay, chamotte, 23.0 x 20.0 x 20.0 cm; Collection of Lesley Kehoe, © Kishi Eiko, photo: David Parallax
Suzuki Osamu, born Kyoto 1926, died Kyoto 2001, Flattened vase (henko), c.1970, Kyoto, stoneware, overglaze, 22.0 x 14.0 x 8.0 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Suzuki Osamu, photo: Grant Hancock
Hayashi Yasuo, born Kyoto 1928, Untitled, c.1979, stoneware, ash glaze, 17.5 x 20.0 x 8.5 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Hayashi Yasuo, photo: Grant Hancock
Suzuki Osamu, born Kyoto 1926, died Kyoto 2001, Clay figure: stepping out (Deizō aruku), 1973, Kyoto, stoneware, overglaze, 59.5 x 30.5 cm; Gift of Rev. Muneharu Kurozumi 1981, Art Gallery of New South Wales, © Suzuki Osamu, photo: Felicity Jenkins
Kaneko Jun, born Nagoya, Aichi prefecture 1942, Untitled triangle (dango), 2004, Omaha, Nebraska, stoneware, slip, glaze, 147.0 x 114.0 x 48.0 cm; Acquired with the assistance of Raphy Star, National Gallery of Australia, © Jun Kaneko
Suzuki Osamu, born Kyoto 1926, died Kyoto 2001, Square vase on pedestal foot (Koku yū hōko), c.1950-60, Kyoto, stoneware with overglaze, 23.3 x 13.0 cm; Gift of Norman Sparnon 1988, Art Gallery of New South Wales, © Suzuki Osamu, photo: Felicity Jenkins
Matsutani Fumio, born Ehime prefecture 1975, Untitled, 2019, Ehime prefecture, stoneware, 43.0 x 52.3 x 28.4 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Matsutani Fumio, photo: Grant Hancock
Mihara Ken, born Izumo city, Shimane prefecture 1958, Genesis (Kigen) no. 1, 2013, Matsue, stoneware, glaze, 44.0 x 74.5 x 20.5 cm; Purchased 2014, National Gallery of Australia, © Mihara Ken
Morino Hiroaki Taimei, born Kyoto 1934, Sudden rain (shuu), c.2003, Kyoto, stoneware, 32.0 x 26.0 x 22.0 cm; Collection of Raphy Star, © Morino Taimei, photo: Grant Hancock
Miyashita Zenji, Breeze of a shady nook (Ryokuin no kaze), 2000, Kyoto, coloured clay banded stoneware, overglaze, 53.0 x 54.0 x 21.5 cm, © Miyashita Zenji

PURE FORM is on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia 

21 May – 6 Nov 2022

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May, 2022