Kaneko Toru (b. 1962)
“My heart sees through the seemingly harsh cold surface of metal to reveal its hidden inner sensuality. Challenging perceptions of its nature and form, I wish my work to bring the fascination of metal to the widest possible audience.”
A graduate of the highly prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and currently Associate Professor at Tohoku University of Art and Design, Kaneko Toru is both an inspired artist and an inspiring teacher. With little attention to precious metals, he creates masterpieces through a combination of traditional Japanese metalworking techniques and materials with an individual creativity that excites.
From ancient cast bronze bells to finely smithed samurai swords, metal has always played a significant part in the world of Japanese art and design. Unique patinating and surface anodising techniques, gold and silver inlay, and mysterious combinations of copper, gold and silver, have contributed to the high standing of Japanese metalwork in the Western world.
Kaneko Toru seeks to challenge the perception of metal as cold and inflexible. His work in silver in particular is soft, reminiscent of peaking egg whites, shimmering in hand beaten textured surfaces, and delicate to the touch in the masterful way he controls the threatening vacuum between thin sheets of silver. He creates exotic textures and coloured surfaces in large works, silver plating and oxidizing tin, enamelling metal a brilliant white, playing with copper oxide to create a deep aqua on shapes that delight the eye.
Internationally recognized as one of the great artistic talents of the contemporary era, Kaneko Toru’s work is found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has created exciting works in silver for the Japanese tea ceremony, a chawan, tea bowl in silver, used in the Oribe symposium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2003. In 2006 Professor Kaneko and a number of post-graduate students, conducted master classes in Melbourne, Australia, as part of the official Australia-Japan Year of Exchange activities.