Ryutaro Yamada Pottery Exhibition

January 24, 2020 – February 6, 2020
GALLERY HOURS :11:00 – 19:00
RECEPTION:January 24, 2020 18:00〜20:00

Message from Takashi Murakami

Kaikai Kiki Gallery is pleased open Ryutaro Yamada Ceramics Exhibition on January 24, 2020.

My first encounter with Yamada’s ceramic works was on the occasion of his solo show at Gallery Utsuwa Note. His style reminded me of the atmosphere of the ceramics world in the early 2000s, when I became captivated by ceramics around 15 years ago; back then, Ryo Aoki, who I think had established a mode of lifestyle ceramics, was still alive. My first impression of Yamada’s works, then, was that of familiarity and nostalgia. I could see his works properly following in the wake of Aoki in that had the latter been alive today, he might be updating his works in just such a way. Having observed and then used Yamada’s works, I became impressed by their highly satisfying quality and got excited to realized that I have met a tremendous young artist.

As I found him extremely promising, I immediately approached him with a proposal to do a solo show at our gallery.

The reason why I had become enthralled by ceramics as a lifestyle craft in the early 2000s in the first place was because I thought it embodied the process that Japan as a nation followed toward its bizarre brand of stability. After losing the World War II, Japan’s dream of restructuring as a state grew for a time and then bursted with the bubble economy. From there, the country has wandered off into the twisted way of state management in which it increasingly seemed to settle for masochistic poverty.

The preference to escape from urban culture, the Japanese variety of hippy, if you will, with the obsession with ecology, return to nature, rural living, etc., largely came with an irresponsible attitude with no sense of accountability, so I couldn’t really relate to it. Yet within such a irresponsible school of thought, creativity alone mysteriously seemed to sharpen, and there was an upwelling of ceramic artists who embodied this phenomenon. It seemed like a miracle to me, and I wanted to see where it led to. And I became convinced that Yamada is headed down the path to succeeding the history and, further, to the core of yet-unseen creativity.

In the fall of 2019, while Yamada was at the throes of preparation for this exhibition, several typhoons hit the neighborhood of his studio. People went missing amidst landslides and the cliff in front of Yamada’s house collapsed, taking a bamboo bush and a large tree with it. Exposed to the force of nature, for a time it became difficult for him to merely lead his life. He must have asked himself some fundamental questions: What does it mean for him to create ceramics in this life?

The other day I visited Yamada’s studio to see the works that are being completed for the show. In a sense, his new works produced in the pressing environment seemed even sharper; he has produced works that glow brilliantly. I felt giddy on the one hand, while feeling sympathetic to his recent misfortunes at the same time. I got incredibly excited, sensing the mystery surrounding the production of art. The works that lined the shelf outdoor made me want to scream: “Yes! This is what I wanted to see!” The works in the show came directly from the source. I hope you will enjoy.

Takashi Murakami

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