Weekly Highlight: HAYASHI Yasuo (1928 - )

Weekly Highlight: HAYASHI Yasuo (1928 - )


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Hayashi Yasuo's highly intelligent work invites us to look at ceramics differently. A true pioneer of ceramic sculpture, Hayashi San has devoted his entire life to creating work and polishing his highly personal style. 
He has perfected his art over many decades: he exhibited side by side with Isamu Noguchi in Paris as early as 1947. Almost seventy years late, he still surprises us with his fabulous new works, which distill the clean, pristine discipline that is his signature.

Today, at the age of 87, Hayashi San spends most of his time alone in his studio, building his new pieces by hand, strip by strip. He has a great affinity for his house series. He has dwelled on the theme of the house throughout his lifetime, in works both large and small. These days the works are mostly smaller, because they are better suited for his current capabilities. Even at this late stage in life, however, he doesn't slow down, but rather creates ever more interesting work.

This work, titled Small Talk (2014), comes in two parts: a roof-shaped cover and a box-shaped base. Hayashi San's skilled hand enabled him to create this softly shaped roof, with its protruding edge and sweetly curving roofline. The base of the house features an iconic Japanese sunrise on one side and an abstract window into an interior room on the other. Even when working at this small scale, the artist never sacrifices quality. Instead, he packs these small works with delightful details.

Look at this soft, curving roof: it is so gentle that it seems squeezable. Hayashi San delivers a tender romantic purity wrapped in modern simplicity.

A companion piece takes the form of a pristine cube, again coil-built for strength and to achieve these sharp corners. On one side you can peek into the corner of a room, where painted forms reflect the shape of the roof. On another side is a tea dust interior, and on another we find a group of abstract lines that bring to mind the raging elements of wind or rain. Finally, the last side is dominated by a large rectangle in brilliant blue, like looking out of a window onto a deep blue sky.

The best feature of this piece may be the rooftop, soft and gentle as it is, it cleverly shifts from edge to edge, giving the impression of motion and three-dimensionality. Throughout the piece, the artist has expertly applied matte and shiny glaze to the highest effect.

After a long day of building works, at midnight in his quiet Kyoto studio, Hayashi San at last employs his old technique of mouth-blowing his unique glazes onto his pieces. What a gorgeous result! Ganbate, Hayashi San!


林康夫 (1928-)
Small Talk 余話, 2014
H22 x W21 x D17 cm, H8.6" x W8.2" x D6.7"
Signed Yasuo '14 at the bottom, With Signed Wood Box

Small Talk 余話, 2014
H26 x W16.8 x D14.5 cm, H10.2" x W6.6" x D5.7"
Signed Yasuo '14 at the bottom, With Signed Wood Box