2011年09月30日

Successful Nishikata Exhibition, Dull Dento Kogeiten

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This week marks the closing of the debut exhibition of Nishikata Ryota at Yufuku.

As opposed to the genres of ceramics or lacquer, I find that metalwork in Japan is often overlooked, even though the talent in this field may be far greater on average than those hyped mediums.

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A case in point is the popularity of our metal artists, both domestically and overseas: Yede Takahiro, Takeyama Naoki, and the younger Nishikata.

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What these three artists have in common is an extreme level of original, innovative technique that they have nurtured throughout years of practice. How many ceramic artists out there can claim to have devised a new mode of creation? Not many. Yet metal artists, esp. these three in particular, are in a league of their own. It gives me great pleasure to be representing them in a day and age where metal definitely does not receive the appreciation it rightfully deserves. It is even more gratifying to think that these three artists have essentially started their careers at Yufuku. In any case, congratulations to Nishikata-san on a successful debut exhibition - it actually beat many of our more famous artists in terms of total sales at a Yufuku debut.
Even greater things await Nishikata-san for sure.

And of course, many more new artists, esp. in ceramics, will be making their debuts at Yufuku from 2012. Please stay tuned.

Just a quick note on this year's Dento Kogeiten. Great examples of technique? A given. Great examples of innovation or aesthetic sensibilities? Questionable. I have my reservations on several of the award winners, one in particular who has received an award for two straight years. Why was he given an award over other artists? Something seems to point to factors other than aesthetics as the ultimate cause. Who knows.

But ultimately, this year's show seems to point to the fact that the Dento Kogeiten no longer holds the same clout as it once did; the same can be said for its rival Nitten, which starts in October. I find that Japanese art is no longer dependent on such institutions to lead the way, much like how the Salons began to fade away in Europe during the twilight of the 19th century. What will take their place? It is yet to be seen, but a new movement seems to lean towards independent artists who are not affiliated with any organisation, yet receive recognition only based on the merit of their works: not reputation, name value, or pedigree. This seems to be a pragmatic evolution in Japanese art, and also seems to illustrate the global trends of our times.

Next week, I'll be travelling to Seoul with Nagae Shigekazu to accompany him on the opening of his new show at the Yido Gallery in Seoul.

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This show actually marks the end of his well-received series "Forms in Succession," which means there will be no new works made in this style from 2012! If you haven't seen one of these works before, please do visit Seoul (if possible) and view the works in person - they literally defy all preconceptions of porcelain, period. I'll be working with Nagae-san on showing a new style of work, most probably in the later half of 2012 (if a prototype can be successfully fired by Collect, we'll be bringing it there). Please also stay tuned from one of the masters of porcelain slip-casting.

From eastern skies,

Wahei Aoyama 青山和平
Yufuku Gallery/Toku Art
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