A highlight of travels in Japan is being able to visit artists in their studios. This trip we visited the studio of Kaneko Tōru in Chiba. Kishi Eiko and Takahiro Kondō in Kyoto, and Koji Hatakeyama in Takaoka.
Takahiro Kondō is a dynamic artist constantly exploring the definitions and perimeters of fine art and how this relates to his personal practice. His unique kintekisai (mist) glaze was a feature of the first exhibition we held of his works in 2008 with two of the large monoliths entering the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria and a smaller monolith, the National Gallery of Australia. That glaze has moved with the artist into his larger sculptural works, heads in the Reflection series and more recently full body sculptures in the Reduction series
. The artist is currently exploring traditional Japanese ceramic glazes and we were lucky enough to be served a bowl of matcha in some of his ‘experiments’.
Our upcoming exhibition ‘Presence’ will feature what I consider one of Kondō’s most significant works, Oil and Water 2007. This is a work that stands apart in its conceptualization and aesthetics. It is a work that I first saw in New York and desperately wanted to own, its presence haunted me. An opportunity presented itself recently, and I was able to purchase it. Art enthusiasts all, you will understand my feeling of elation. I am thrilled to be able to show this work in the gallery during the upcoming ‘Presence’ show. No image can do its presence justice.
Some of you will know that Kondō’s wife, Hitomi, is a specialist in contemporary art jewellery. Her shop CAJ in Kyoto is a beautifully designed space in traditional Japanese style, a happily yin and yang juxtaposition. Naturally, I came away with several treasures. We are in discussions with Hitomi for a collaborative show in 2016.