Pottery As Canvas
The Japanese ceramicist Ito Keiji channels ancient civilization and ritual into his work, which often has a mysterious, earthy quality. This piece seems to embody weighty silence. What seems simple at first glance is actually carefully considered: the mass of the piece seems to float above its support due to a small notch at the base, and a simple slit at the front breaks the surface, adding interest and air. The whole of the piece has been washed in mud, giving the surface a primitive, natural feel. The square opening at the top is like a well that has been cut into the earth, and produces deep black shadows that accentuate its depth. This opening has been constructed, rather than carved, and is actually hollow underneath. A light can be placed under the piece, which will then filter into the depths of the well through a miniature colonnade that runs around its base. When lit from below in this manner, the takes on a mysterious, beautiful glow. Marie-Therese Coullery, the Secretary General of the International Academy of Ceramics, has said of Keiji Ito's work that it "is rooted in the Japanese soil; its originality and contemporary dimension give it a universal value. He feels the need to the essential. For the ceramists this is the clay itself, unadorned, natural, and truthful in its simplicity."This piece demonstrates his commitment to the essential, mysterious nature of ceramics, and is an excellent example of the fusion of natural, ancient purity and contemporary sensibility in art.
Selected Public collections:
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
Museum of Fine Ares, Gifu. Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu.
The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. Tajimi Mino Ceramic Museum.
Paramita Museum, Mino. Musee Ariana, Geneve Switzerland.
Everson Museum, Syracuse NY.
Musee des arts decoratifs, Paris France.
Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza Italy
Silence cellar, 1998
H: 10.5" x W: 11" x D: 14"