2009年04月30日

The Future of Cloisonne

Naoki Takeyama Yufuku Collection 2009.JPG
Takeyama Naoki Collection for Yufuku/Toku Art 2009

One can safely claim that Japanese ceramics has forged a stellar reputation and an avid following throughout the world in the 21st century. There is something about the artform and its artists that continue to captivate not only collectors of art but so-called Japanophiles who may not be well-versed in traditional Japanese aesthetics per se. At the same time, other traditional Japanese crafts such as lacquerware, for example, have also been cherished in the West for its quality and collectibility, perhaps evidenced by lacquer's colloquial moniker as "Japan."

Reverie by Naoki Takeyama.jpg (Yumegatari 'Reverie' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

Yet compared to these two mediums, the art of shippo, or Japanese cloisonne (enamelled metalwork), has been gravely overlooked throughout the years, not only globally but in Japan itself. Cloisonne itself is an ancient art. Born in the Near East, shippo would eventually travel further east along the cultural currents of the Silk Road, and ultimately, reach its zenith in the Far East. In the Meiji to Taisho periods, leading shippo artists such as Namikawa Yasuyuki and Namikawa Sosuke created works that were in many ways the absolute culmination of Japanese cloisonne. Their works today, rippling with elegant exoticism, are still widely collected for being emblematic of Japanese export ware during the Meiji period.

Devotion by Naoki Takeyama.jpg
(Kogare 'Devotion' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

Unfortunately, it is not exaggeration to claim that Japanese cloisonne since the deaths of the two Namikawas had not witnessed a charismatic artist who would elevate the art into the common national psyche of the Japanese people, much like how artists such as Kato Tokuro or Rosanjin would fully establish Japanese ceramics into the national consciousness.

Time Flow by Naoki Takeyama.jpg
(Tokiyo 'Time Flow' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

Takeyama Naoki (1974- ), however, may very well be the young, charismatic artist that the world of shippo has been waiting for. Takeyama wields the ancient technique with an electric modernity that calls to mind the pop-art of the 1960's and the minimalistic, asymmetrical designs of Japanese fashion designers of the 1980's.

Head of his class at the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts, Takeyama achieved the Grand Prix at the Japan Cract Exhibition at the young age of 25, while winning an array of awards since. Publically collected by Toyota City (his hometown) and his alma mater, along with the recent acquisition of his work by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London during Collect 2008, Takeyama's metalwork is seen as a stunning reinterpretation of an ancient art, and ultimately, proposes to cloisonne a wealth of new possiblities.

Reverie in Navy Blue by Naoki Takeyama.jpg
(Yumegatari 'Reverie in Navy' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

Shown in this blog are several of Takeyama's new works made especially for Collect 2009. Each and every work is elegantly hand-pinched from a single sheet of copper, which in itself is an amazing feat. The glazes and gold or silver leaf are not fired with wires, as in traditional cloisonne, but are meticulously applied using a small sieve and a bamboo paddle. This is also a mind-boggling process that can take up to 20 separate applications, then drying, then firing. In other words, each Takeyama work epitomizes the refined amalgamation of extreme technique and imagination, and are, in essence, the future of Japanese shippo.

Devotion in Blue by Naoki Takeyama.jpg
(Kogare 'Devotion in Blue' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

I believe Takeyama Naoki will be the artist that bravely leads Shippo into the 21st century. He has it all -the wild imagination, and the bold technique to materialize this imagination into art. We hope that many will take the time to view his work in London next month during Collect 2009 and say hello to Takeyama-san, who will also be at our stand. He is an amazing artist, and represents the very best of contemporary Japanese art.

Ephemeral by Naoki Takeyama.jpg
(Tamayura 'Ephemeral' by Takeyama Naoki 武山直樹)

From eastern skies,

Wahei Aoyama 青山和平
Toku Art Limited
posted by Toku Art Limited at 23:11| Comment(0) | Takeyama Naoki (Shippo) | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

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