Page 1

Material & Memory by Yohei Nishimura April 11 - May 11, 2013

Cavin-Morris Gallery New York



Cavin-Morris Gallery is pleased to present its second exhibition of works by Yohei Nishimura. In the previous exhibition we showed his kiln fired books brought to their barest skeletons of shape. Words and ideas had disappeared yet they still maintained the essential identities as books. In this exhibition, Nishimura finds a blending point between enamel bowls and fruit fired to its bare essence, forced into a graphic relationship with the enamel bowls. Here are some of his comments. “The inspiration for this work came after my visit to the British Museum, and I saw “carbonized rice”. It fascinated me that even after thousands of years, organic material such as rice had continued to exist. Ceramic work is where fired clay turns into a hard solid form like a rock. The firing process in creating ceramics generally takes several hours to a day at a time. However, in nature, it takes thousands of years for a piece of clay to turn into a rock. In ceramics, we speed up the natural process to alter the material form. For this exhibition, I have fired fruit. If we leave these materials as is, they will decay and lose their current form. However, by firing these fruits I prevent the fruits from decomposing, and I sustain their form. The fruits were placed in an enameled bowl and fired together. In this process, I was able to create and observe a new relationship/interaction between the fruits and the enameled bowls. The fired fruit left the outside shell and maintained their form, but the fruit flesh completely melted. In a white bowl, this melted fruit flesh leaves a trace and simultaneously creates multiple lines in the bowl. There were no lines before the firing, but the process of firing bowl and fruit together creates lines. Each bowl then has a different set of lines. No lines are the same. It is like observing the heritage of each bowl. An apple and a bowl - one is organic, and the other is not. Yet, with human input, the nature of that relationship will begin to show us a new vision of where the organic and inorganic merge. “



Yohei Nishimura’s work is ceremonial. His process of making his work is ceremonial. It is not the proscribed formulae of Western ceremony. It is about the shadow-world of memory. It is about what once was and what remains. And because of the transient nature of memory, the process of what once was becoming what remains never repeats. This is most evident in the poetic ongoing series of books Nishimura fires in his kiln till they lose all but the thinnest shells of their skeletons. No two ever fire alike. We take for granted the sotto voce references to war, disaster, or destruction. They are present but not paramount. Underneath these shells lurks the primal idea of what a ‘book’ really is. We immediately know them as books because we remember the forms. They are still paper, howbeit paper transformed by time. But the words are gone. Nishimura’s retention of the titles allows a very brief passage of memory. Who lived here? I knew their names but didn’t know them. Essentially the intentionalities of the original volumes have been wiped clean but our memories still know them as books. We have collaborated with the idea of Time. The current series plays on the ideas of the books but takes it further by using apples, kiwis, and pears as the perfect embodiment of familiarity and Nature. Not only have they been returned to the essential being of their projected forms and lost their specificities, but they have pushed further into an alchemical collaboration of new creation. Each fired fruit not only broadcasts the perfection of its essential form but also has gone further in creating interactive relationships between artist, time, fire, viewer and the acceptance and resistances of the enamel bowls giving at the same time individual identities to what were once anonymous and indistinguished entities. The firing of each fruit produced its own marks on the interior walls of the bowls -- some gestural, some patterned and some minimal. By suspending the bowls the artist has played with something not previously tried with his books. He has suspended time and we are privileged to review the work from that perspective. The shadows beneath the works created by the lighting poetically insinuate the passage of the moon through the night sky, flirting with eclipse and the intangibilities of epochs past. We can hold on to the essence of memory. Memory creates its own context. We can never capture it fully. In that way his is the dark response to the passing of cherry blossoms in their ineluctable sadness. His work contains as always the quality of Yugen: The maelstrom of beauty in silence.


-Randall Morris




detail: Material and Memory, 2012 - 2013 Fired enamel bowls with apple, pear, or kiwi 3.75 x 9.75 in/ 9.5 x 24.8 cm








An Introduction to Neutron Transport, 2009 Fired Book 5 x 4.25 x 3 in/ 12.7 x 10.8 x 7.6 cm YN 33



Wilson vs Lenin, 2009 Fired Book 4.5 x 3.5 x 4 in/ 11.4 x 8.9 x 10.2 cm 4.5 x 3.5 x 2 in/ 11.4 x 8.9 x 5.1 cm YN 32

The Progressive ER, 2009 Fired Book 5.5 x 4 x 1.5 in/ 14 x 10.2 x 3.8 cm YN 35


New Playboy’s Party Jokes, 2009 Fired Magazine 6 x 3.5 x .25 in/ 15.2 x 8.9 x .6 cm YN 15


Theory of Elastic Stability, 2009 Fired Book 6.5 x 3 x 2.5 in/ 16.5 x 7.6 x 6.4 cm YN 27


A Genetic Switch, 2009 Fired Book 6.5 x 5.25 x 1.5 in/ 16.5 x 13.3 x 3.8 cm YN 36


The New Deal, 2009 Fired Book 5 x 3 x 1.75 in/ 12.7 x 7.6 x 4.4 cm YN 31


Boston’s Immigrants, 2009 Fired Book 6.25 x 4.25 x 2 in/ 15.9 x 10.8 x 5.1 cm YN 34


Culture of Narcissism, 2009 Fired Book 4.25 x 4 x 2.25 in/ 10.8 x 8.3 x 5.7 cm YN 24


Color Science 2009 Fired Book 6 x 4.25 x 3.25 in/ 15.2 x 10.8 x 8.3 cm YN 45


Introductory Quantum, 2009 Fired Book 4 x 3.25 x 3 in/ 10.2 x 8.3 x 7.6 cm YN 22


Special Theory of Relativity, 2009 Fired Book 7 x 5 x 3 in/ 17.8 x 12.7 x 7.6 cm YN 37


Non-Linear Optics, 2009 Fired Book 5.5 x 5.5 x 4 in/ 14 x 14 x 10.2 cm YN 14


Time Magazine, No. 26, 1986 World Cup, 2009 Fired Magazine 7 x 5.25 x 1 in/ 17.8 x 13.3 x 2.5 cm YN 44


Semi Metals & Narrow Band Gap, 2009 Fired Book 7.5 x 5 x 3 in/ 19.1 x 12.7 x 7.6 cm YN 49


Museum Catalog - Lost and Found, 2007 Fired Book 9 x 6.5 x 1.5 in/ 22.9 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm YN 142


Untitled, 2007 Fired Book 12.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 in/ 31.8 x 21.6 x 1.3 cm YN 143


Untitled, 2007 Fired Book 9 x 6 x 3 in/ 22.9 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm YN 144


Untitled, 2007 Fired Book 10.75 x 7 x 3 in/ 27.3 x 17.8 x 7.6 cm YN 145


Untitled, 2007 Collage, book cover 9 x 5.5 in/ 22.9 x 14 cm YN 146


Untitled, 2007 Collage, book cover 9.5 x 6.5 in/ 24.1 x 16.5 cm YN 147


Biography Yohei Nishimura graduated from the Arts Department of Tokyo University Of Education. He has been a teacher of blind children in Chiba School for the Blind for 23 years, teaching children to create three-dimensional works of art using modeling clay. In 1977 he received the Foreign Minister Prize in the Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition. In the 1990s he coached the visually Impaired in Nepal’s Technical & Skill Development Centre and America’s Governor Morehead School. He has also been an exhibition curator and conducted Touch Art workshops for the visually impaired in Hong Kong. Nishimura is one of Japan’s leading ceramic sculptors whose works are in the permanent collection of famous museums like the Museum of Decorative Arts (Paris); the National Museum of Ceramic-Sevres (Paris); the Victoria & Albert Museum (London); and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. He is currently a Professor at Japan Women’s University.


Exhibitions and Publications 1947 Born in Kyoto 1973 Graduated from Tokyo National University of Education Solo Exhibitions 1980 Gallery Seiho Tokyo (’82)/Gallery Iteza Kyoto/Ban Gallery Osaka (’82, ’84) 1981 Gallery Mitsui, Tokyo (’83) 1982 Gallery Chiira, Chiba 1983 Kiriyama Gallery, Tokyo(’86, ’88, ’89 ’90, ’93) 1985 Izumi Gallery, Tokyo/Gallery Isogaya, Tokyo (’88 ’91, ’95) 1986 Gallery Haku, Osaka 1987 INAX Gallery, Tokyo 1988 Gallery Caption, Gifu (’92, ’94)/Gallery Mori, Tokyo (’90, ’94) 1989 Gallery Tsubaki, Tokyo/Gallery Pousse, Tokyo (’91,’93, ’95, ’97)/Gallery Lamia, Tokyo 1991 Ichikawa Gallery, Tokyo/Gallery Doga, Tokyo/Gallery Tenjiku, Tokyo/La Bella, Chiga/ Kuroda Touen, Tokyo/ Keio Department Store, Tokyo 1992 Gallery Koyanagi Tokyo 1993 Altiam, Fukuoka/Memory’s Gallery, Nagoya (’94)/Shugado Gallery, Osaka/Imura Art Gallery, Kyoto (’95)/Oregon Moon Gallery, Tokyo (’96)/Gallery Asuka, Tokyo (’94, ’95, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’02)/Keramik-Galerie Bowig, Germany/Masuda Studio, Tokyo 1995 Otemon Gallery, Fukuoka/Life Gallery Ten, Fukuoka (’96, ’00)/Isetan Art Gallery, Tokyo/ Self-So Art Gallery, Osaka (’97, ’00) 2002 Span Art Gallery, Tokyo 2009 Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York 2009 CCCD Gallery, Hong Kong 2009 Gallery Asuka, Tokyo 2010 Gallery Asuka, Tokyo 2011 FuMonEn, Iwate 2011 Gallery Zero, Osaka 2011 CCCD Gallery, HongKong 2011 Gallery Asuka, Tokyo 2012 “The Sound of Sculpture, the Voice of Clay - Yohei Nishimura Retrospective and the Art of Children Yohei Nishimura Met,” Aichi Prefectural Ceramics Museum, Aichi 2012 “Yohei Nishimura Retropsective,” Gallery Mitsui, Tokyo 2012 Gallery Asuka, Tokyo Group Exhibitions 1975 “3rd Annual Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition,” Diamaru Department Store, Tokyo (’77, ’79, ’81) 1977 “A Bird’s-Eye View of Japanese Contemporary Art,” National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto 1979 “14th Annual Japan Contemporary Art Exhibition,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art (’83) 1980 “Clay Work- From Ceramic to Sculpture,” Seibu Department Store, Otsu: Tokyo 1981 “Clay Work,” Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store, Tokyo 1982 “New Form of Japanese Ceramics ’82,” Roma, Faenza 1983 “Contemporary Japanese Ceramics,” Koffler Gallery; toured in Canada “Art Today—Japan and England,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art “Ceramics Today,” Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store 1984 “Clay Art Today,” Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art “Ceramics Today,” Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store, Tokyo 1985 “Contemporary Ceramics,” Kure Museum of Art “The 2nd Asian Art Show,” Fukuoka City Art Museum 1986 “Clay—Image and Form,” Seibu Department Store, Otsu; Tokyo “Competition of Contemporary Ceramics—Kazuo Yagi Prize ‘86” (’88), Kyoto Prefectural


1987 1988 1989 1990 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 2000 2001 2002 2009 2009 2010 2010 2010 2011 2012 2012

Culture and Art Hall “Clay Sculptures from 1980’s In Japan,” Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu “International Biennale of Paper Art II,” Leopold-Hoesch Museum, West Germany “East—West Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition,” Art Center of the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul “International Paper Works Exhibition,” Kyoto Cultural Museum, Kyoto “Europalia ’89 Japan, Contemporary Ceramics, Mons Museum of Arts, Belgium “The 2nd Ino Paper Works Exhibition,” Ino Museum of Paper “The Game of Manners—Japanese Art in 1990, Contemporary Art Center, Mito “Japanese Clay Work Today,” Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Utsunomiya “The Suntory Prize Exhibition ’90,” Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo (’96) “Messages From Seven Ceramic Artists ’92,” Keihan Gallery of Arts & Sciences, Moriguchi “Clay Art Today 1950-1990,” Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya “Materials—Emerging Visions,” Masuda Studio, Tokyo “Locus of Culture After the War 1945-1995,” Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo “The Fine Arts of Bodily Sensation ’96, The Survival Tool Thinking With Artists,” Sakura City Museum of Art, Chiba “Shiga Annual ’97 Paper Work,” Shiga Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Otsu “Art Scene 90-96,” Contemporary Art Center, Mito “Dialogue of the Spirit,” Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum “Chiba Art Now ’97,” Sakura City Museum of Art, Chiba “Department Store of Contemporary Art,” Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kofu “The Eggs of Mobius,” CAP HOUSE, Kobe “The Fine Arts of The Books,” Urawa Art Museum “The Legacy of Modern Ceramic Art Part 1: From Artisan to Artisit, The Evolution of Japanese Ceramic Art,” Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu World Ceramic Biennale Korea “The World of Transforming ‘Books’, “Urawa Art Museum, Saitama “WakuWaku Museum – On Wondrous Ceramics,” Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park “Expanding Art, “ Mie Prefectural Art Museum “This is not a book, “ Urawa Art Museum, Saitama “10 Year Anniversary – 10 Years of Collecting, Harmony between Humans and Nature,” Gunma Museum of Art Contemporary Art Biennale of Fukushima International Contemporary Art Exhibition “APO-CALY-PSE, “,Old Beardsilverware Clarens, Montreux,Switzerland

Public Collections -The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo -The Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art -Kure Municipal Museum of Art -Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris -The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo -Everson Museum, New York -The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama -Victoria and Albert Museum, London -Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art -National Museum of Art, Osaka -Museum of Modern Art, Shiga -Takamatsu City Museum of Art -The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park -Urawa Art Museum -Chiba City Museum of Art -Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum


-Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi -Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art -Art Gallery Tokyo Opera City -The National Museum of Ceramic, Sevres

Workshops and Lectures 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2010 2011

(Nov ’98-April ’99) Technical Skill & Development Centre for Blind and Disabled Workshop, Nepal (June-July) Governor Morehead School Workshop, USA (April) University of Michigan Workshop and Lecture, USA (Feb) University of Leicester Lecture, UK (Dec) International Exhibition—Art for Visually Impaired Lecture, Korea (Sept) Arts with the Disabled Association Workshop, Hong Kong (Nov) Arts with the Disabled Association Workshop, Hong Kong “On Japan’s Art and People with Disabilities” Seoul, Korea “Outsider Art in Japan and the Western World,” Symposium of Rising Starts of International Arts Festival, Hong Kong “Distance between Heart and Psyche – Mind Painters,” Central Plaza, Olympian City, Hong Kong

Published Works 1984 1990 1991 1992 1995 2003

Let’s Make What We’ve Never Seen, Kaisei-Sha Yohei Nishimura 1975-1990, Gallery Press The Space Inside the Palm, Kaisei-Sha Toh Yohei Nishimura, Kyoto Syoin Form to be Seen by Hand, Hakusuisya Arts of Misunoki, Tohou Publishers


Copyright Š 2013 Cavin-Morris Gallery Cavin-Morris Gallery 210 Eleventh Ave, Ste. 201 New York, NY 10001 t. 212 226 3768 Catalogue design: Mimi Kano Photography: Jurate Vicerate


This catalog presents a recent exhibition at Cavin-Morris Gallery of the visionary and important work by Japanese artist Yohei Nishimura.


This catalog presents a recent exhibition at Cavin-Morris Gallery of the visionary and important work by Japanese artist Yohei Nishimura.