Takahiro Kondo

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.

1958   Born in Kyoto.
1982   Graduated from the Literature Department, Hôsei University
1985   Completed training at Kyoto Ceramics Training School
1986   Completed training at Kyoto Industrial Research Institute
2002   Masters of Design and Applied Arts, Edinburgh College of Art

Selected Solo Exhibitions
1990   Sao Paolo Museum of Art, Sao Paolo, Brazil
1992   Azabu Bijutsu Kôgeikan, Tokyo
Gallery Sanjô, Kyoto
1993   Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Osaka
1994   Gallery Yûgen (also in 1996) Takashimaya Gallery, Tokyo and Kyoto
Gallery Ryoko, Kyoto
1995   Yoshikô, Kyoto
Ginza Wakô, Tokyo (also in 1996, 2000)
Scotland National Museum, Edinburgh, England
Imura Art Gallery, Kyoto (also in 1997, 1999)
Takashimaya Gallery, Kyoto and Okayama (also in 1997, 2001,2002)
1996   International Contemporary Art Festival, NICAF, Tokyo
1999   Gallery 213, Paris, France
Gallery Kôgen, Nagoya, Aichi (also in 2001, 2000)
Ginza Wako Hall, Tokyo ’02, ‘05
2000   Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
2002   Celestial Ceramics; The Art of Kondo Takahiro, Barry Friedman
2003   Blue Mist: the Works of Takahiro Kondo, the Paramita Museum
2004   The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, England
2005   Barry Friedman Gallery, New York
Wako Art Gallery, Tokyo
2006   Tenmaya Art Gallery, Fukuyama, Okayama, Hiroshima
2008   Transformations, Barry Friedman, NY
Transformations, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, Melbourne

group exhibitions
1981   Cheramisuta (also in 1986, 1987)
1987   New “Takumi” Crafts Exhibition, Kyoto City Museum (also in 1988)
1988   “Wan” (Bowls) Exhibition, Kyoto Daimaru (also annually from 1987 to 1991)
1989   Ceramic Frames Exhibition, Kobe OLD & NEW, Gallery Sanjô
1991   Two-person show with Kondo Hiroshi, Daimaru Gallery, Kobe
1992   Innovative Crafts for Flower and Tea Exhibition, Isetan Museum, Tokyo
THE WALL Exhibition, Kyoto, Tokyo, and Mashiko
1993   20th Century Japanese “Blue & White”, Fitzwilliam Museum, England
JOURNEY EAST, Moscow National Museum, Russia
Three Generations of Contemporary Blue & White Ceramics – Works by Kondô Yûzô, Hiroshi, and Takahiro, organized by Asahi Newspaper; exhibited in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yamaguchi, Kochi, and Nagoya
1994   Beyond Vessel, Robert MacDougal Museum, New Zealand
1996   Selected Avant-garde Art, Kyoto City Museum, Kyoto
Autour de la Terre, Vendôme, France
Fire, Clay, and Works, Izu Oshima, Tenkawa, Maui, and etc.
1997   Gifts from the Heart Exhibition, Tokyo Spiral, Tokyo
International Contemporary Art Festival ’97, NICAF, Tokyo
Moon, Fire, Water Exhibition, Gallery Okumura, Tokyo
1999   Three Generations of Modern “Blue & White,” Eki Museum, Kyoto
2000   Three-person show with Namiki Tsunenobu, Senju Hiroshi, and Kondô Takahiro, Gallery Okumura, Tokyo
The Exhibition of Chinese Blue and White porcelain and Modern Japanese Kondô Sometsuke, Palace Museum, Beijing
Senju Hiroshi, Ikenobô Yuki, and Kondô Takahiro; Connected Across Time by Imagination, Nanba Takashimaya Grand Hall, Osaka
2001   Two-person show with Ichino Masahiko, Kôgei Ima, Tokyo
Masters of Clay: Five Artists from Kyoto, Barry Friedman Gallery, New York, organized by Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd.
2002   International Asia-Pacific Contemporary Ceramics Invitational Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan
16/16, Anniversary Ceramics Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, England
“Collect”, V&A Museum, London, UK. ’05, 06’
“Contemporary Clay” – Japanese ceramics for the new century – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA & also Japan Society, New York

Public Collections
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York
Cultural Foundation of the New York Times, New York
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
Hamilton Art Gallery, Hamilton, Australia
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Arts and Design, NY
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
Sao Paolo Museum of Art, Brazil
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas
Paramita Museum, Mie, Japan
Miho Museum, Shiga, Japan
Ulster National Museum, UK

Takahiro Kondo
Lesley Kehoe