Art Crafting towards the Future

2012.4.28(Sat.) - 2012.8.31(Fri.)



2012.4.28(Sat.) - 2012.8.31(Fri.)
10:00 - 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa


Mondays, and July 17 (Open on April 30, July 16, and August 13)


On the day
Adult : ¥1,000
University : ¥800
Elemen/ JH/ HS : ¥400
65 and over : ¥800

Advance・group (20P and over)
Adult : ¥800
University : ¥600
Elemen/ JH/ HS : ¥300

Note: The tickets allows admission to the Collection Exhibition

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802

“Art Crafting towards the Future” inquires into the contemporary validity of kôgei (Japanese artisan craft) and universalness of its appeal. The exhibition, this is to say, asks: Is kôgei an art genre expressive of our times, capable of speaking to people everywhere? Like other visual media, today’s kôgei is subject to the post-modern trends of the times. Like animation, manga, design, and contemporary art, it is an expressive medium used to create compelling new images. To this end, it employs methods specific to kôgei, and it references kôgei’s historical vision. Yet, today’s kôgei takes a clearly different approach from past kôgei.
In its visual imagery, for example, today’s kôgei resonates with animation, manga, design, and contemporary art—genres from which it has previously stood apart. In its attitude towards exhibiting, as well—while exhibit methods differ contingent on the creativity of each artist—today’s kôgei is turned to face the world at large. There is, thus, a clear trend of kôgei artists working in widely varying styles who are showing their works as art of the present day.
For this exhibition, I would like to refer to kôgei work of such character as “futurist,” in the sense of “kôgei of a new age” and “future-oriented kôgei.” The exhibits by the 12 featured artists are all kôgei, but I would like viewers to see and enjoy them as today’s art.
(Exhibition curator: AKIMOTO Yuji, Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)

Related Projects

Consecutive Artist Talks

Date/time: Saturday, April 28 10:00 – 17:00 and Sunday, April 29 10:00 – 17:00
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: No charge (with same-day ticket to this exhibition)
Capacity: 80
Language: Japanese

Schedule / Artists
Saturday, April 28
10:00〜10:30 AKIMOTO Yuji / Exhibition curator
10:30〜11:15 AOKI Katsuyo
11:30〜12:15 IKURA Takashi
13:30〜14:15 NAKAMURA Shinkyo
14:30〜15:15 HAYAMA Yuki
15:30〜16:15 OHI Toshio
16:30〜17:15 NOGUCHI Harumi

Sunday, April 29
10:00〜10:30 AKIMOTO Yuji / Exhibition curator
10:30〜11:15 MITSUKE Masayasu
11:30〜12:15 TAKEMURA Yuri
13:30〜14:15 KUWATA Takuro
14:30〜15:15 NAKAMURA Kohei
15:30〜16:15 YAMAMURA Shinya

Lecture by the Curator: "Future-Oriented Kôgei Artists"

Speaker: AKIMOTO Yuji (Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)
Date/time: Saturday, May 19 14:00-15:30
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: No charge (with same-day ticket to this exhibition)

Artist Profile

  • AOKI Katsuyo
    Predictive Dream XIII, 2010
    Photo : SUEMASA Mareo

    AOKI Katsuyo

    Born in Tokyo in 1972. Lives and works in Tokyo.
    Aoki Katsuyo creates works of pure expression so free from traces of craft, they might more aptly be called contemporary art. In Aoki’s works, the development of the ornament is not extra but essential to the expression of the piece. The works take narrative character and decorativeness as their main features. Insistently repetitive and multiplying to excess, Aoki’s decorative style appears almost like a kind of exorcism or prayer to purge society of its deep, nebulous anxiety.

  • IKURA Takashi
    Where Shadow Meets Form 2008-1, 2008
    Photo : OYA Takao

    IKURA Takashi

    Born in Toki, Gifu in 1962. Lives and works in Toki.
    Although retaining aspects of vessel character, the works of Ikura Takashi can well be called sculptures. They are works showing the relationship between kôgei and design, and between kôgei and contemporary art. Still, as Ikura forms his image, strong craft-like qualities appear and control his formative method. The details of the piece emerge naturally from his focus on form, and in artworks of white tone, those details produce a sharp and fascinating “surface.” A form so precisely rendered is not reproducible; Ikura’s works show us how every object is a one-of-a-kind existence.

  • KITAMURA Tatsuo
    KIDDUSH CUP - Sacred Chalice (Seihai), 2011
    Photo : WATANABE Osamu

    Unryuan: KITAMURA Tatsuo

    Born in Wajima, Ishikawa in 1952. Lives and works in Wajima.
    Kitamura Tatsuo is the head and producer of a lacquer craft studio, Unryuan. The studio’s works are created with Kitamura performing as master craftsman. Kitamura’s use of the studio style may appear retrogressive, but it stands to reason, considering the complex processes entailed in producing high-level lacquer works. Kitamura is uncompromising when it comes to workmanship. Technical skill is the motivating power behind his production and, in this sense, is central to the work. The technical virtuosity displayed is astonishing.

  • OHI Toshio
    White Raku Tea Bowl
    "Colorado Raku Clay"
    , 2005
    Photo : WATANABE Osamu

    OHI Toshio

    Born in Kanazawa, Ishikawa in 1958. Lives and works in Kanazawa.
    Ohi-ware has a history of 350 years. Ohi Toshio’s work is therefore, of a necessity, founded on tradition. The problem is nevertheless how an artist approaches tradition and gives it validity. Ohi gives contemporary meaning to tradition by traveling. Going to foreign locations, he encounters the people living there and holds workshops. These workshops he regards as integral to his own production. Involving others in production, he teaches them traditional methods, thereby opening and expanding tradition.

  • KUWATA Takuro
    Tea Bowl, 2009
    ©Takuro Kuwata, courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
    Photo : ICHIKAWA Yasushi

    KUWATA Takuro

    Born in Fukuyama, Hiroshima in 1981. Lives and works in Toki, Gifu.
    Kuwata Takuro is one of a number of young kôgei artists who have debuted owing to the influence of the manga, Hyouge Mono. Kuwata’s works are characterized by bizarrely exaggerated forms and bright Pop color sensibilities. He initially sets out to produce a jar or vessel, but amid his playful forming process, the piece gradually thaws and becomes an object expressive of “process.” Kuwata’s taunting “playfulness” is what gives his works their refreshing lightness, their point of greatest charm.

    Bowl 'Meditation', 2011


    Born in Nagoya, Aichi in 1980. Lives and works in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.
    Takemura Yuri’s works show the link between kôgei and design. Like kôgei, design intends utility, so both are distinguished from art. But we forget that distinction on seeking Takemura’s works, for so rich are they in formal play, they possess expressive power as art objects. In recent years, she has focused on creating tea bowls. When rhythmically arrayed, the harmony of colors and shapes they produce is bright and beautiful.

  • NAKAMURA Kohei
    Photo : HATAKEYAMA Takashi

    NAKAMURA Kohei

    Born in Kanazawa, Ishikawa in 1948. Lives and works in Kanazawa.
    The “end of the modern age” is a phrase of repeated. Nakamura Kohei’s works are art objects for a story that begins after the end. Fragmented pieces are united, and they endeavor towards a new form and new energy but are plagued by a somehow unfulfilled or impotent image. The artworks exhibit a trend toward a fetishism of things, and demonic imagery. A fragmented world and auxiliary images. Nakamura is another artist who spins a narrative through decoration.

  • NAKAMURA Shinkyo
    "Kagayaku Umi", Shining sea, 2006

    NAKAMURA Shinkyo

    Born in Fukuoka, Fukuoka in 1957. Lives and works in Fukuoka.
    We will tentatively refer to Nakamura Shinkyo’s works as “dolls.” By using this word, however, we overlook their real essence. Nakamura’s endeavor will be understood more clearly if seen from the perspective of a comparison between Japanese sculpture, which includes both Buddhist statues and dolls, and Western sculpture. Nakamura crosses the strong points of Japanese sculpture with those of Western and realizes a hybrid figurative sculpture. Taking the Tensho embassy four hundred years ago as a subject, he introduces symbolic elements—ocean, sun, and moon—and inquiries into problematic aspects of Japan’s cultural relationship with the West and the concepts of world and frontier.

  • NOGUCHI Harumi
    Odoroki-inu(Surprising Dog), 2011
    Photo : SATO Hitomi
    Courtesy of Ginza Ippodo Salon

    NOGUCHI Harumi

    Born in Tokyo in 1948. Lives and works in Yoshimi, Saitama.
    Noguchi is a self-trained ceramist who makes sculptures from clay. Because she kneads the clay by hand, her works are not so very large. The forms she makes—imps, sprites, children, and animals, look like figures from fairytales, but their formation is primitive and this, along with their size, makes them friendly and approachable. The vitality they exude, however, is related to animism, a belief rejected by modern society.

  • HAYAMA Yuki
    Large Vase with Emperor Long Sun, 2006 -07

    HAYAMA Yuki

    Born in Arita, Saga in 1961. Lives and works in Takeo, Saga.
    Hayama Yuki undertakes everything from pattern creation to etsuke hand-painting on china. He begins by composing a story then creates a porcelain work to accompany that story. Many of his stories have their origins in history and are set in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, India, China, and Japan. The story, which is depicted with powerful figurative expression, is given play through the distribution of the porcelain vessels. Hayama Yuki’s works are characterized by rich narrative character and matchless etsuke technique.

  • MITSUKE Masayasu
    Untitled, 2009
    Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts
    Private collection

    MITSUKE Masayasu

    Born in Kaga, Ishikawa in 1975. Lives and works in Kaga.
    Mitsuke Masayasu employs a method of drawing fine lines borrowed from traditional red enamel overglaze painting. The picture-like image he thereby achieves is the distinctive feature of his works. Composed using abstract patterns, his designs are contemporary in feel and unlike anything seen in red enamel painting until now. They have the homogeneity of pictures drawn with computer graphics and bring to mind infinitely multiplying patterns.

  • YAMAMURA Shinya
    House shaped box of lacquered
    with egg shell
    , 2011

    YAMAMURA Shinya

    Born in Chofu, Tokyo in 1960. Lives and works in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.
    Yamamura Shinya employs urushi (lacquer). His methods are, in every case, traditional methods fostered through the long history of lacquer craft, and yet Yamamura has chosen them freely for use in self-expression. Devising elaborate designs, contemporary in mood, he takes the work to completion using minimal forms and techniques. Each work is small and rich in poetic feeling, like a fragment of the world he has picked up.


Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)

Patronized by: