Kyoto Art Festival’s International Exhibition of Art: 3D

Sculpture, ceramics, glassware, lacquerware, metalwork, installations, and other three-dimensional work are usually strongly represented in Japan’s art museums, and this group and their annual exhibitions are not exceptions. All artists are busy in autumn in Japan, but the sculptors usually have three or four shows happening throughout Kyoto at the same time. This year venues included the Annex, the old city hall, the municipal art museum, and on a smaller river near a popular shopping and dining area. I think Kaoru Eto might have been in all four and possibly one more in Kyoto at the end of October or the beginning of November. This does not include shows, such as the national competition known as Nitten, in Tokyo or other cities.

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A wide range of work is spread throughout the annex but mainly near the front of the hall and on small stands in the middle of the hall of the annex.

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Kasuke Kishi’s large geometric pieces are usually at the entrance or in the front of the hall. Just like him, his pieces can be quite large. They are also deceptively look simple or straight-forward in their design. That is until Kishi turns them on. If everything co-operates, a small breeze is generated and blown through a small tube. That little amount of air is enough to knock the sculpture off balance. When it falls, I assume a counterbalance is activated and the sculpture slowly moves. When the motor does not work, it works as a geometric piece. the movement is usually an unexpected surprise.

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As mentioned before, Jarmo Vellonen‘s metal sculptures are usually near the entrance and usually near Kishi’s geometric pieces. With me acting as interpreter, this was the first year that the two sculptors had a lengthy chat about their work. Who knows what will happen if Vellonen and Kishi work in the same studio in the future?

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Also in the smaller group show at Gallery Keifu that featured artists who won awards last year, Yuko Koyama also had a ceramic piece in the Annex. It featured her signature matte colours and bulbous shapes.

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I think this is a ceramic piece by Masakazu Hoki. It is different than the one in the catalogue but has the similar matte glazes on the body with almost a sunburst as the trim. I think he was also one of the judges in the Nitten show in Tokyo and joined the party on the weekend after returning exhausted from Tokyo.

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A ceramic piece by Masami Katayama. Do you see a white cloud? That is the title! But in Japanese of course.

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Koken Murata is also one of the organizers. I am quite sure he had a similar piece in Tokyo in the Nitten show, one of the largest juried shows in Japan. They just glow when you see them.

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Kaoru Eto must have been one of the busiest sculptors this year with countless shows at the same time as well as being one of the leaders in this show and probably others, helping set up this show and others over a period of several days. When did he rest? His pieces are usually strong geometric shapes in stone.

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I might be wrong, but I think this etched glass vase is by Ko Takeuchi. (I took so many pictures over a short time that I cannot remember whose work is whose, especially when the photo in the catalogue is different than the piece in the show.) It is different than the one in the catalogue but they both feature birds of prey, tree branches, and dark colours.

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The long, delicate petals of the spider chrysanthemum might have been incredibly difficult to etch in this glass vase by Harumi Aoki. I think it is her work because the blueish greens are similar to the hues of the one in the catalogue.

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Eiko Yamada seems to be trying new things in glass. I wonder if this is a weeping plum tree…

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Byungmil Jung is currently working on her doctorate in Kyoto, studying lacquerware or urushi in Japanese. She won an award for this and truly deserved it. Egg shell, clam shells, lacquer, you name it and she used it. The pieces were small and delicate. It was so shiny and beautiful!

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Emiko Inoue was one more of this group that also had a piece in Nitten. I would recognise her shapes and colours anywhere. Her lacquerware is stunning.

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My apologies to Ryosaku Takeda for this unfocused photo. His woodwork is beautiful. His work is never flashy or huge; they are small and subtle. I recently learned that he used to do lacquerwork as well. (He supposedly is also working on wooden eyeglasses.)

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Tatsuki Tokuriki is another one of the organizers of the show, and I am happy to say that he won a prize in the Nitten show! It was a similar, beautiful glass bowl.

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Wu Jun made this traditional teapot. Similar pots are used with oolong tea for tea ceremonies in Taiwan.

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I debated whether or not Kitty Maryatt‘s art book should be in the 3D section or with the other printmakers in the 2D section. I decided that it really was a three-dimensional object and included a few detail shots of the inside. This is the kind of piece that you need to be there when the artist is there so you can open and close each of the parts. It was meant to be handled, not to sit on a shelf.

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Anna Bielska Hirano’s sculpture initially started out in the middle of the room but was then moved to a corner where nobody would accidentally step on it. It was then moved again to an area where it complimented the surrounding art. It moved around a lot! She coiled dark green fabric and installed them on top of the series of eyes.

I am still amazed by how many pieces by these artists I saw later in Tokyo at the Nitten juried show. Several were judges or had won prizes. Did you need more proof that this is a talented group of artists that participates in this annual show in Kyoto?

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