Masamichi Yoshikawa is an internationally acclaimed contemporary ceramist, with artworks in museums such as Metropolitan, V&A, MAD or Incheon. His new body of work bring together his famous seihakuji glaze and impressive cut glass pieces.
At the origin of ceramic creation lies technology, science. But for me, the essence is prayer.
History shows us that humans have always sought the path to pleasure by way of music and philosophy.
I would like to find this life in a transparent world like an ever-gushing spring.
All paths, our ultimate desire to reach excellence, lead us towards a same goal.
Born in Chigazaki in 1946 just after the end of the war, Masamichi Yoshikawa is an atypical artist who has always blazed his own trail. Although the art of ceramics is traditionally taught by a master, he began by studying design at the Japanese Institute of Design. That is where he discovered ceramics. In 1968, while Japan was undergoing even bigger student revolts than those in France, and that the Gutai group had founded what would come to be known as “contemporary art”, Masamichi Yoshikawa went to live in the Aichi province in Tokoname. The city houses one of the six historic ovens of Japan, which represent the six principal types of traditional Japanese ceramic art (Bizen, Echizen, Seto, Shigaraki, Tamba and Tokoname). In this historic setting of Japanese culture, famous for its clay, Masamichi Yoshikawa began creating porcelain works – almost a heresy - covered with a pale celadon blue glaze (seihakuji). Although he started out by revisiting originally utilitarian forms, following in the footsteps of the Sodeisha avant-garde, he subsequently oriented his craft towards more architectural works and spatial installations, and in so doing sealed his contribution to contemporary ceramic art. Although he is inspired by certain temples and sanctuaries as well as the Miho museum drawn by Pei, his works are not architectural models. Sometimes covered with veined drawings in cobalt blue, they are the fruit of a spiritual practice, a poetic language made of volumes, fullness, emptiness, materials. They represent a quest for meaning, like a series of contemporary prayers amidst a world in crisis.
Masamichi Yoshikawa’s work took a new turn in 2016, thanks to a special commission by the Yakushi-Ji temple, extended to a dozen of the most important living Japanese artists. This is when the ceramicist began incorporating glass elements into his work for the first time.