Selected Chinese and Korean Ceramics from the Ataka Collection


2008.2.9 (Sat.) - 2008.3.20 (Thu.)

The Ataka Collection is a compilation of approximately 1,000 pieces of Oriental ceramics collected as a business undertaking by Ataka Co., Ltd., a company once numbered among Japan’s ten largest trading firms. It was ATAKA Eiichi (1901-94) who oversaw the collecting with a keen, uncompromising eye and built a peerless ceramics collection. Eiichi served as company board chairman and later as counselor, but he is remembered primarily as an art collector and also as a patron of Western classical music in pre- and post-war Japan.

ATAKA Eiichi was born to a family of wealth and power in Kanaiwa-cho, Ishikawa-gun, Ishikawa Prefecture (present-day Kanaiwa-cho, Kanazawa City). His grandfather, Kokichi, who had built a fortune through his dealings in finance, fertilizer and clothing, was among Kaga province’s wealthiest merchants. Eiichi’s father, Yakichi, devoted his energies to the importation of general goods, thereby laying a foundation for Ataka Co., Ltd. to become a distinguished trading company. Yakichi is also known as the foremost patron of scholar SUZUKI Daisetsu and philosopher NISHIDA Kitaro.

After the dissolution of Ataka Co., Ltd., the Ataka Collection was ultimately donated to Osaka City by the twenty-one companies of the Sumitomo Group under the leadership of Sumitomo Bank, which had been Ataka Company’s main bank. Osaka City then founded The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka in 1982 in order to house the Collection. Consisting mainly of Korean ceramics of the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasties and Chinese ceramics of the Tang, Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties, the Collection is widely esteemed as one of the finest ceramic collections in the world.

This exhibition will present 56 gem-like works, including 2 national treasures and 11 important cultural properties, selected from the Collection under the supervision of The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka. Visitors to this homecoming exhibition of a world-class collection closely associated with Kanazawa are invited to savor the beauty and enjoyment of Oriental ceramics. (This exhibition has ended.)

National Treasure, BOTTLE, Celadon with Iron brown spots
Longquan ware Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century
Collection: The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka
Gift of SUMITOMO Group

Graphism in Wilderness : KIYOSHI AWAZU

2007.11.23 (Fri.) - 2008.3.20 (Thu.)

"Graphism in the Wilderness: Kiyoshi Awazu" presents the full scope of Kiyoshi Awazu's oeuvre and considers its meaning for us today through the display of over 1,750 principal works -including drawings, works never exhibited, and experimental films -from among the 2,600 Awazu works in the collection of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

In his dedication to experimental expression, Kiyoshi Awazu has traversed wide-ranging genres, saying, "In all expressive fields, I resolve to remove not only the boundaries among forms of expression; I will also remove class, category, disparity, and the upward and downward that have appeared in art." A singular genius with a ceaseless interest in the world around him, Awazu took up art amid his country's reconstruction from the ruins of war and went on to build a foundation for graphic design in Japan. He has since blazed a career cutting freely across the genres of painting, posters, prints, book design, architecture, music, film, performance, and theater.

Having lost his father in a railroad accident soon after he was born, Awazu could look only to a newspaper article about the accident and three portrait photographs for clues to his father's existence. "The city raised me, " he says of a youth surrounded by ex-soldiers, joiners, and factory workers in his neighborhood. After the war, while bouncing from job to job, he began to sketch and paint on his own, using movies and art magazines as textbooks. An enormous volume of sketches -studies of passengers on Yamanote Line trains and people seen along roadsides- remain from that time. After winning the Grand Prize at the 1955 Nissenbi (Japan Advertising Artists' Club) Exhibition for his poster, "Umi wo Kaese" (Give Our Sea Back), Awazu entered the field of design, where he had experience with image reproduction and mass production using printing technology. "It was all a wilderness. The word 'graphic' didn't even exist," he recollects of that time. Perceiving as "graphism" the permeation of everyday life by automatically self-reproducing visual messages driven by modern reproduction technology, he searched intuitively for creative methods that were, by comparison, vulgar and pre-modern and formulated his own style.

While pioneering a world of uniquely personal line drawing, Awazu embarked on a pilgrimage-like journey among idiosyncratic popular icons -fingerprints, palm lines, maps, and ink seals in the 1960s, and turtles, birds, camellias, Mona Lisas, and Abe Sadas in the 1970s. Recalling a childhood interest in reincarnation upon hearing the cellist Pablo Casals perform "Song of the Birds," Awazu furthermore began to depict birds. Since the 1980s, he has developed a strong interest in the global environment and state of human civilization. Amid his journey of revisiting the starting point of his thinking, he has expanded his range of vision to encompass prehistoric cave drawings and pictographs found in ethnic art -subjects transcending time and place. A pilgrim thus among icons having origins in extremely fundamental existence, Kiyoshi Awazu continues, even now, to stand alone in the wilderness.

*exclusive site

AWAZU Kiyoshi

Collection II

2007.9.15 (Sat.) - 2008.4.13 (Sun.)

Artworks from the Museum collection are introduced. Particularly, works that respond to the change or conversion in the social value system elaboratingvarious perspectives are exhibited. This examines intricate relationshipsbetween human expressions and the society.

Katsuhiko HIBINO Art Project " HOME AND AWAY" SYSTEM

2007.4.1 (Sun.) - 2008.3.20 (Thu.)

Katsuhiko HIBINO Art Project " HOME AND AWAY" SYSTEM is almost a-year on-going project. Its educational part is modeld on "Zon Moderna" in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. A part of this Art Project, "Asatte Asagao Project 21" starts from April and continues until November 2007. The exhibition of Katsuhiko HIBINO is on view from September 29, 2007.

*exclusive site


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