10 February 2017

KOGEI Future Forward exhibition at Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store highlights 15 artists

The Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store in Tokyo, Japan will be launching a contemporary art exhibition on February 15, 2017. KOGEI Future Forward features 15 Japanese artists presenting contemporary artworks.

Kogei (工芸) is a Japanese word that was created at the dawn of the Meiji Period (1868 to 1912) to correspond to the English word "craft". Across the Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei years, the artistry of kogei craft was refined as it underwent various changes. Today, kogei is highly regarded as fine art.

This exhibition interpretes kogei freely, and highlights the work of 15 Japanese artists to show kogei to the world as a uniquely Japanese fine art. Yuji Akimoto, a professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts and Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, as well as of the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts, acted as Curatorial Supervisor for KOGEI Future Forward. Selected artists include:

© Takuro Kuwata , c ourtesy of KOSAKU KANECHIKA Photo by Hidenobu Saji 10.6 ×16.5×15 cm 2

Takuro Kuwata (桑田卓郎): new challenges in ceramic techniques and materials
Takuro Kuwata's appeal lies in his broad expression that straddles both craft and contemporary art. Bold forms and bright pop colours give rise to contemporary textures and rhythms. actively presenting work at galleries and museums abroad that handle contemporary art. While reevaluating the rich history of ceramics, he continues to seek new forms of expression that may be seen in the framework of pop art.

The works in this exhibition use kairagi (梅花皮), an effect produced when the glaze cracks upon firing of ceramics. Kuwata has used the kairagi effect in his own way, much as he employs ishihaze (石はぜ), an effect which appears on the surface of ceramics when stones mixed in the clay explode through firing, and hizumi (歪), referring to distortions in the vessel.

Masayasu Mitsuke (見附正康): delicate geometric patterns evoke an infinite mandala
Masayasu Mitsuke's work uses a technique called akae-saibyo (赤絵細描) from Kutani ware. Akae-saibyo is a technique used to painting fine thin lines with iron-red enamel paint in intricate patterns. It was in fashion from the late Edo period through to the Meiji and the early Showa era, and was actively produced as Ishikawa Prefecture's main local industry. Mitsuke has transformed akae-saibyo by updating stylised patterns such as karako (唐子, Chinese children) or dragons to contemporary designs.

Geometric designs characterise his work. Repeating patterns produce a space that conveys an obsessional sense of infinity. Iron-red mainly covers the ware, but the occasional gold or blue are added as an accent.

RITSUE MISHIMA © M asayasu Mitsuke, courtesy of Ota Fine Art 10.5 ×diameter 48.2cm © Ritsue Mishima Photo by Francesco Barasciutti “MEDUSA” 37×40×41cm 3 Transparent glass created on the island of Murano

Ritsue Mishima (三嶋りつ惠)
Ritsue Mishima creates organic forms that pursue the possibilities of glass in collaboration with the skilled artisans on the Italian island of Murano in Venice. The colourless transparent glass that is the product of a fusion of 1,000 years of traditional technique and Mishima’s sensibilities radiates a new appeal when light passes through it. It is characteristic of Mishima that she does not stop at the works themselves, but extends her expressive attitude of being fixated on “things coming into view” by means of installations that situate her glass objects in space. Mishima is based in Venice, but also runs an atelier in Kyoto, Japan.

Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store is Japan's first department store, founded in 1673. The event is part of the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group's push to rediscover values created by Japanese tradition, culture and aesthetic consciousness and offer them to its customers as new values. The group is the largest department store group in Japan. 


KOGEI Future Forward is conducted as a trial research project for the governmental Basic Policy for P romoting Measures related to Preparations for and Management of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. 

February 15 to 20, 2017
10:30 am to 7:30 pm

Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store
Main building, ground floor, Chuo Hall
1-4-1, Muromachi, Nihombashi,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan