|Galleria Gottardo, ceramics by Shimaoka
|Yanagi Sori, Message from the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Tokio.|
I wouid like to thank the Fondazione Galleria Gottardo and the Collector - a long time friend of Shimaoka Tatsuzo - for this marvelous opportunity of introducing Shimaoka's works to the people of Switzerland. Shimaoka was awarded the title of Living National Treasure (Ningen Kokuho) in 1996. As one of the most respected potters in Japan, Shimaoka's exhibitions have received high praise in museums and galleries in many countries in Europe and the United States. Shimaoka started pottery in 1939, as a student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Department of Ceramics. That year, he also visited the Nihon Mingeikan (Japan Folk Crafts Museum) for the first time and came to know of my father, Yanagi Soetsu, founder of the mingei movement. lt was at the Mingeikan Shimaoka met with the beautiful works of Hamada Shoji, Kawai Kanjiro and Bernhard Leach all passionate advocates of Yanagi's mingei movement. Shimaoka had found what he wanted to make. The same year he travelled to Mashiko to visit Hamada and was granted apprenticeship upon graduation. Shimaoka worked with Hamada for five years, then built his own independent kiln three years later next to his teacher's in Mashiko. Leonardo da Vinci once said, that a true teacher is one that can instruct pupils to surpass the teacher. Hamada, the master potter and teacher, always emphasized to his students the importance of creating their own personal styles. Shimaoka later became famous for his original technique of rope-impressed inlay. He is now the second Mashiko potter -after Hamada- to be designated a Living National Treasure. He is truly giving back to Hamada all that he has learned, and much, much more. Shimaoka's distinguishing rope-impressed inlay started with a very personal tool at home. His father was a braided-cord artisan, thus making strings and ropes familiar to the artist from an early age. Later in his beginning years with Hamada, Shimaoka assisted his teacher and archeology professore in reproducing the forgotten technique of ancient Jômon earthen-ware. Shimaoka was also a great admirer of Korean Yi-dynasty Mishima ware he came to know of through mingei. He used the same technique as Mishima ware of inlaying white slip into rope- or stamped-impressions. Mingei is created by local tradition, material and techniques. lt has a vivid and sure healthy beauty that emanates from the work itself. Hamada was touched by the spirit of mingei and Shimaoka has inherited the essence of this spirit. The beauty of his art lies in the extraordinary combination of his dashing splash glaze atop his elegant and refined rope-impressed inlay. In addition to this technique, Shimaoka creates with stamped, brushed and dripped designs, with transparent glazes, salt glazes and natural ash glazes, resulting in works with a tranquil and rich finish. The warm and subdued beauty of his pieces is a very honest expression of the gentle man himself. Shimaoka's works have the discipline of his consciousness of returning to the basics. He is aware of the clay and the traditions of Mashiko. lt is a quality that makes his pieces distinctly Japanese and at the same time ever more cosmopolitan. Shimaoka's outstanding pottery has thus attracted many admirers worldwide. Being the humble man he is, I believe that Shimaoka will further pursue various techniques to enhance his skills as a potter and continue to create works of remarkable depth and grace.
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Luca Patocchi, Curator of the Galleria Gottardo.
Adolf Zihler, collector.
Biography and most important exibits from Shimaoka Tatsutzo
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