Igawa Takeshi

Pools of mysterious shadows, sudden illuminations, deep sensual reflections, vast planes of black, sharp angles and the softest of curves – Igawa Takeshi’s grand sculptural works evade instant comprehension.

Conceptually based on the infinity of sea and sky, the impenetrable obscurity of black, and using the natural lustre of lacquer, Igawa uses the freedom and fluidity of kanshitsu, the dry lacquer technique that traditionally uses a fabric mold rather than a wooden substrate, to create form. One’s emotions flow with the sea, soar with the clouds – this is the essence of mastery- physical and spiritual manifestation.

Igawa Takeshi is in his early thirties, with a PhD from Kyoto University of Arts in lacquer art, and a lecturer at Saga University in Kyushu. In a search for the contemporary in the field of lacquer, Igawa is a rare find. The strict traditions and the technical demands of the Japanese lacquer world seem to mitigate against innovation. The lacquer world has not seen the radical reinterpretations that have occurred in the fields of ceramics and metalwork.

Coming from an academic back- ground, rather than a traditional apprentice in a lacquer studio, Igawa is creating contemporary sculpture in lacquer. In revisiting a traditional technique, and somewhat controversially taking advantage of modern materials, Igawa uses styrofoam and hemp to create his abstract sculptures. Intrigued by light and shadow, Igawa uses the natural lustre of urushi, a tree sap, and the curves and shapes of his work, to create light and colour on a black surface.

Gradually gaining recognition at vetted exhibitions, he has recently received an Excellence Award at the Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition and the Grand Prize at the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition. Currently working to create pieces for the 2011 Korean Biennale, Igawa struggles with the commitments of university lectures, filling in forms for the Biennale in English, and finding time for his own creative work.

2009   Lecturer Of Saga University
2008   Ph.D., Kyoto City University Of Arts
2005   M.F.A., Kyoto City University Of Arts
2003   B.F.A., Kyoto City University Of Arts
1980   Born  Hyogo Prefecture

2009   Grand Prize, Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition, Ishikawa
2008   Excellent Award, Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition
2007   Grand Prize For Elegance, Elegant Shapes: Works Of Urushi In Our Daily Life, The Miyako Messe, Kyoto
2006   Talente—Prize For Design, Talente 2006, The International Trades Fair, Munich, Germany
2005   Mayor’s Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto
Award For Excellence, The 45th Japan Crafts Exhibition, Tokyo
2003   Mayor’s Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto
2002   Hiradate Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto

Solo Exhibitions
2009   Abiesfirma, Kobe
2008   Gion Konishi, Kyoto
2004   Works Of Urushi, Ishida Taiseisha Hall, Kyoto

Major Group Exhibitions
2011   Flawless:  Contemporary Japanese Lacquer, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York
2009   Sofa New York
2009   Contemporary Japanese Lacquer, Keiko Gallery, Ma
2008   Cool Black, Daimaru Art Gallery, Tokyo
Sofa Chicago
Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition
2007   Formative Arts: Works Of Wood, Urushi, And Bamboo, Miyama Thatched-Roof Museum, Kyoto
2006   Urushi Show: Drinking Vessels For Sake Or Green Tea, Machi-Ya (A Merchant Family-House), Kyoto
Floral Festival: An Exhibition By Three Artists, Gion Konishi, Kyoto
Talente 2006, The International Trades Fair In Munich, Germany
2005   Prospects For Lacquer Clay: Works By Artists In Kyoto, Gallery Nishikawa, Kyoto
The Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2005, Meitetsu M’ Za, Kanazawa
One Hundred Artists Works Of Drawings, Ishida Taiseisha Hall, Kyoto
Selected Artists In Kyoto 2005: New Wave, The Museum Of Kyoto, Kyoto
2004   Kyo Ryu Art Project, Okinawa
Artists Works In Black, Ishida Taiseisha Hall, Kyoto

Igawa Takeshi
Lesley Kehoe