ASIA WEEK NEW YORK Highlight
Ito Sekisui became the fifth generation potter to work his family kiln in 1977, where he continues a proud ceramic tradition that stretches back to the early 1800s. Because of this strong family history, Ito always knew that he would take up this position and began working with clay at a very young age.
This jar is an example of his mature style, which is unglazed and created using the neriage technique. An extremely complex process, in neriage - literally "well-kneaded" or "deliberately wrought" - variously colored and textured clays are carefully layered to form a pattern. That layered piece is then sliced by the artist, revealing in cross-section the pattern of the combined clays, before finally being shaped into the desired form. Here, Ito has created an exuberant pattern of spring blooms that cascade over the surface of the jar. The neriage technique is traditionally used to create abstract, all-over patterns, and only an incredible talent could have produced such a precise, beautiful image. The delicate flowers almost appear painted on, and bring to mind the flora of the artist's Sado Island home. Ito has said that elements of play and pleasure take part in his creative process, and the delight he takes in his work is clearly on display here. Sekisui family pottery is highly prized historically, and has been collected by many institutions and individuals, including royal families. Ito's work has been exhibited in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among many other venues, and can be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert, London; the Indianapolis museum, the Japanese Foreign Ministry; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; and the Niigata Prefectural Government.
ITO Sekisui 伊藤赤水(1941-)
Living National Treasure
Incense Burner 無名異練上香爐
H15.4cm x D10.2cm x W10.2cm, H6" x D4" x W4"
With Signed Wood Box