Katsuyuki Sakazume "Ceramics"

Ippodo Gallery

poster for Katsuyuki Sakazume "Ceramics"

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The most distinctive characteristic of ceramic artist, SAKAZUME Katsuyuki’s work, is that it is of the high-fired, unglazed stoneware, known in Japan as yakishime. While he was studying English literature in university, he became fascinated by world of ceramics in which the five elements of ‘earth’, ‘water’, ‘fire’, ‘wind’, and ‘void’ collide on a molecular level and fuse together to create unique shapes, almost like the birth of a miniature planet. To enjoy such a planet on the palm of the hand is the philosophy of the tea ceremony and SAKAZUME goes so far as to say that the history of Japanese ceramics begins with the tea bowl. He studied all the literature he could find on archeological digs and used the information he gleaned to create a medieval-style, fifteen meter long, tunnel kiln in which he burns pine wood for anything between fourteen to twenty days, depending on the weather, in order to thoroughly fire tea bowls or art objects of up to two meters in size. These works have survived temperatures in excess of 1,400 degrees centigrade (2,552 Fahrenheit) that are too hot to measure, recreating here on Earth, miniature Earth-like planets whose main constituents are rock and iron.

SAKAZUME began his studies in pottery in Kyushu, and then traveled to Korea where he carried out exhaustive research into kiln construction, eventually building his own large-scale, classic kiln. Later worked as a kiln construction assistant to Hagi potteries ‘living national treasure’, Miwa Kyusetsu XI, then was dispatched to the U.S.A. by the Japan Foundation as a visiting professor. He remained in the U.S.A. for the next 9 years, interacting energetically with potters’ groups there and becoming particularly friendly with the late ceramic artist, Peter Voulkos (Professor of Art, Emeritus, University of California, Berkley), the two men mutually influencing each other’s work. While he was still alive, Voulkos remarked that SAKAZUME’s sculptural works had a lot in common with the work of the American minimalists. Having mastered the skills of Japanese and Korean ceramics, SAKAZUME explores the origins of human creativity; surpassing culture, history and national borders, his art of earth and fire represent the fundamental essence of the concept, ‘less is more’.
SAKAZUME take a handful of clay and discovers universal beauty within it. He continues to produce works in the pursuit of natural sculptural beauty. All excess is removed to produce a poem of form. A physicist friend of his once told him that, ‘all matter moves infinitely without pause, and infinity is a law in which order is beauty.’ SAKAZUME took these words to heart, saying that artists are people who are capable of capturing the momentary flash of light of this infinitely moving matter and he humbly believes that he is able to grasp this momentary flash of light through earth and fire.

Ippodo NY presents 30 of SAKAZUME’s recent works, focusing on his installations and objects. Like the stones that are an essential part of a tea garden, his works conform to Japan’s unique aesthetics. The artist will visit the gallery in person for the opening of the exhibition on May 13, his first visit to the U.S.A. in 25 years.



from May 13, 2010 to June 19, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-05-13 from 18:00 to 20:00

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