TOBI Contemporary Japanese Ceramics Exhibition

September 12 – 28, 2013
521 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10001

Onishi Gallery is proud to present “Contemporary Japanese Ceramics,” an exhibition presented in collaboration with its new partner organization TOBI, the Ceramic Arts Society of Japan. Opening during New York’s Fall Asia Week 2013, this stunning international exhibition features 18 artists from Japan and the United States—Imaizumi Imaemon XIV, Eno Masatake, Peter Mark Hamann, Haneishi Shuji, Hotate Tsuyoshi, Ito Yuichi, Koyama Koichi, Okada Yu, Okada Yasushi, Sato Ryo, Suzuki Miki, Tatebayashi Yoshiaki, Tsukamoto Haruhiko, Tsutsui Hiroaki, Yoshida Hiroko, Yoshita Yukio—and two artists designated as “Living National Treasures” by the Japanese government—Sakaida Kakiemon XIV and Yoshita Minori. The success of the first collaboration between Onishi Gallery and TOBI, “Contemporary Japanese Ceramics: Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, Yoshita Minori, Imaizumi Imaemon XIV and Other Masters from TOBI,” drew attention from art collectors and museums across the United States. In this second collaboration, Onishi Gallery and TOBI again present the beauty of cultural and generational diversity through artwork that holds tradition and innovation at its core.

Founded in 2012, TOBI has over 150 members and is led by six “Living National Treasure” artists: Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, Yoshita Minori, Isezaki Jun, Nakashima Hiroshi, Kato Kozo and Inoue Manji. These members live and work in areas across Japan that have been centers of ceramic production for centuries—Eastern Japan, the Kansai, Chugoku and Kyushu areas. This exhibition offers TOBI’s artists the opportunity to present their commitment to sharing each of their area’s unique ceramic techniques and histories with wider international publics. In turn, both artists and viewers are able to learn from impressive spectrum of creative practices that are valuably displayed here together.

Only recently founded as an independent organization, TOBI developed out of the Ceramic Department of Issuikai, one of the most prestigious art centers in Japan. With a 75-year history, this ceramic department blossomed for decades under the leadership of the world’s most famous Kutani potter, Tokuda Yasokichi III, who, in 1993, advocated for the donation of 30 ceramic pieces to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution—a bequest that became the basis of their world-famous collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics. Aimed at expanding its presence in the global cultural environment, TOBI places the concepts of “inheritance” and “creation” at the core of its mission to broaden cultural traditions and transmit them to the next generation.

As Director of the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum Kenji Kaneko writes, “In the craft art community in Japan, it is common practice to organize study groups for its members to develop techniques and enhance knowledge by learning from each other. TOBI is one such collaborative group run by both young artists and elite ceramists such as those designated as Living National Treasures… this allows for the elite artists to keep addressing the essence of ceramic art in contemporary life.” Working to close the gaps between established and emerging artists, and between historical and experimental styles, TOBI and Onishi Gallery organize intergenerational, transnational shows that blend long-established techniques with pioneering practices.

Onishi Gallery represents TOBI in the United States and regularly organizes exhibitions in March and September during New York’s Asia Week. For more information, please contact Nana Onishi at nana@onishigallery.com.