Takahiro Kondo (b. 1958)
The third generation of renowned ceramicists, contemporary artist Takahiro Kondo walks confidently in the footsteps of his forefathers. In brand-loyal Japan, comparison is inevitable when your grandfather, Kondo Yuzo, was named Living National Treasure for underglaze cobalt-blue wares. Kondo finds the association inevitable, yet has established his own identity with groundbreaking work transcending the traditional boundaries of the ceramic world.
Kondo trained in ceramics in Kyoto shortly after graduating from the literature department of Hosei University. From there he pursued a Masters Degree of Design and Applied Arts at Edinburgh College of Art where he mastered techniques of cast glass. The standing stones of Orkney were an influence on the development of his tall glass and ceramic ‘Mist’ series.
Working on the cusp of the age-old debate of art versus craft, fine art versus decorative art, Kondo fuses function, beauty and autonomy. He directs his thinking to fine art and is constantly creating new directions in his work.
Water has been a favourite theme. After repeatedly firing porcelain forms primarily with under-glazes of shades of blue, the artist applies his unique silver, gold and platinum drop overglaze. Representing ‘water drawn from fire,’ this beaded metallic, mist-like glaze, gintekisai, is applied on porcelain objects and sculptural forms, creating jewel-like, magical surfaces that appear both celestial and aquatic in nature.
Kondo’s work is described as having “ a universal quality that breaks through the barriers of culture and time” (Wilkinson in Ceramics Art and Perception 65 2006) and this is evidenced by his international profile. Represented in museum collections in America, England, Japan and Australia, Kondo’s work “ continues to develop in new and innovative ways while at the same time revisiting key themes and traditions. It is not possible to predict where his next direction might take him.” (Wilkinson as above).
*Note at the artist’s request his name is written Western style with surname last.