I look forward every January to the Gafu Ten exhibition and the results and images of the major pottery competition held there in Kyoto, The Contemporary Kobachi Artists Exhibition. For articles on the previous exhibitions, click on Table of Contents. You can also find that page and others in the Menu drop screen on mobile or the Header on PC.
2019 saw more countries competing than ever before, a continuing trend. It’s an honor just to show at the exhibition, taking home a prize is top class In awards for bonsai pottery. While I disagreed with some of the results of the judging, and claim politics may have played a hand, there is no doubt that the winning containers all deserved recognition. Gold, silver, and bronze awards are given in 3 categories: Glazed, Unglazed, and Painted.
Keiun(桂雲). His given name is Yasuo Fukuda. Fukushige(Bushuan) is his nephew, and he learned pottery in his studio. Keiun also entered the 14th Kobachi, and this display is miles above 2019 in every way. He’s inherited many of the glazes from Fukushige now that he is retired, and also does quite a bit of calligraphy work on containers. There is an excellent display of variety, classical styles and glazes here. His more traditional style couldn’t be more different from that of his nephew.
Going by the name to Jiji
(ツ) kiln is Juninho Nakayama. An interesting and minimal use of decorative relief images and painting definitely made this entry stand out. I enjoyed the clean lines to the forms and the beautiful Celadon glaze as well. Not ostentatious at all, just lovely: Shibui at its best.
Tsutomo Matsuda, artist name Seiun, also won the silver prize at the 10th Kobachi exhibition in 2014. In 2020 he took home the Bronze award for this entry of fantastically glazed octagons. Great forms and a good mix of colors in the contemporary glaze style.
Tani Ranzan, former sushi chef, sculptor, bonsai artist and potter, and painter. A very well known and popular potter here in America, for his sculptural unglazed pots as well as his painted containers. A Renaissance man of bonsai finally takes home the gold he deserves.
Tadashi Ono(大矢忠) again takes home an award, like it seems he does every year. This year a silver award with a series of classical relief sculptures in the signature style he is known for, which usually exceeds and incorporates the rim with the carving.
Yoshi (芳), real name Yoshihiru Hiromasa. This potter is relatively unknown to me. The firing method looks perhaps like a Saggar fire on some of these. I have a friend who did this in Shigaraki, Japan during her apprenticeship. They used rice husks in an electric kiln with pots buried in the husks partway to leave carbonization and natural ash finishes on the buried portions. Rustic and utilitarian.
Reijaku(玲雀), given name Chen Myorin, is a Taiwanese painter who began painting containers in 1976. In both painting and clay technique, this artist shows true mastery. The Taiwanese have become the country to beat outside of Japan in the painted category over the last few years, taking home multiple prizes.
Stacy Allen Muse. A Florida Native and American, brought an award home for America, and himself, in the silver prize class.
Tomoyo Nakazato, called Chi(知), has been making pots since 2017 and painting since 2018. A short amount of time to win a bronze award for his 3 painted mame rounds. A nice display of simple containers, tastefully presented, with a variety of Japanese classical geometric and arabesque patterns.
SPECIAL EXHIBITS NOT FOR COMPETITION
That’s my Part 1 of my coverage of the 2020 Japanese Annual Contemporary Artist Exhibition.
In Part 2, we will a much longer look at the other displays. Those that didn’t take home prizes but were definitely worth mention, including entries from Zyubei, Roy Minarai, Kawada, Ruban Yu, and Shun, among many others.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the pots from these artists as much as I look forward to seeing them every year!
As Always, Thanks for Reading!