Lesley Kehoe Galleries presents the unique work of renowned Japanese ceramic artist Kondo Takahiro. Represented in major international museums and collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, this is Kondo’s first show in Australia. In 25 years of art dealing, it is also Kehoe’s first show dedicated to one artist. When asked why, Kehoe points to the emerging maturity of the Australian market and her continuing commitment to introducing international quality and standards to the domestic scene.
The third generation of a renowned family of ceramicists, contemporary artist Kondo Takahiro walks confidently in the footsteps of his forefathers. In a brand-loyal Japan, comparison is inevitable when your Grandfather, Kondo Yuzo, was named living National Treasure for sometsuke or underglaze cobalt-blue wares. Kondo Takahiro finds the association inevitable, yet has established his own identity with groundbreaking work transcending the traditional boundaries of the ceramic world.
Working on the cusp of the age-old debate of art versus craft, fine art vs decorative art, the artist fuses function, beauty and autonomy. For over ten years, Kondō has explored the theme of water in his work. After repeatedly firing his porcelain forms primarily with under-glazes of shades of blue, the artist applies his unique silver, gold and platinum-drop over-glaze. Representing ‘water drawn from fire,’ this beaded metallic, mist-like glaze is applied on porcelain objects and sculptural forms, creating jewel-like, magical surfaces that appear both celestial and aquatic in nature.
Recent developments have seen the artist moving more and more into contemporary sculptural forms and incorporating glass into his work. The 101 exhibition will feature six monoliths inspired by the standing stones of Orkney.
Major works on exhibition have been especially created for the Australian showing.
Kondo talks of his lifelong commitment to the art: “I want a way of life that allows me to touch the hidden corners of my soul. Testing myself to the extreme, I touch my own hidden heart and, in that instant, the realization strikes me that I am alive.”