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Forty Years, Forty Pots

SHOZO MICHIKAWA 11 October - 2 November 2017

Private View Tuesday 10 October, 6-8pm Artist Present

This exhibition celebrates Shozo Michikawa’s life as a potter, featuring forty ceramics by Michikawa and accompanying photographic work by Yoshinori Seguchi.

15 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4SP +44 (0) 20 7491 1706 | mail@erskinehallcoe.com | www.erskinehallcoe.com


Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form, 2017 46 x 19 x 17 cm (SHM-0218)


SHOZO MICHIKAWA All ceramics speak to us of the earth. Made of clay, they are, among art works, pre-eminent mediators between the physical world and its metaphysical shadow, between nature and culture. The ceramics of Shozo Michikawa, with their surging energy and spiralling forms, their shifting moods between cataclysm and calm, exult in this unique potential. It is as if his pots do not just symbolise the material forces of our planet, but embody them, opening a conduit for their direct expression in clay through his hands. Here, in the pots you see around you, is the centrifugal force of the whirlwind; the explosive anarchic power of the volcano; the rugged grandeur of the cliff face, a legacy of primeval earthquakes; the intricate fractal beauty of the pine cone, grown from a bud; the twist of the human body dancing or bowing or speeding a golf ball across the green and the serenity of a summer evening when sunset stains a lake. Michikawa’s pots are supremely eloquent, testimony to his technical mastery. As he suggests in his public demonstrations, the artist revels in his ability to create order and beauty from the accidents of collision, spin, twist and fire, like an ancient god whipping up a world. The pots that emerge finally from the kiln, for all their poise and the sensitivity of their glazes, seem not merely to come from the earth, but to have tapped into the organising principles of the universe. This exhibition marks forty years since Michikawa became a potter. He had watched his uncle potting as a child, but chose a career in business. At evening classes however he discovered a talent and passion for ceramics. He was drawn, he tells me, to this “natural material which can stretch or shrink and sometimes crack. I find it interesting how it changes under different conditions and also the tactility of the material.� In 1977 he abandoned the safe path of a salary-man and moved to Seto, a centre for ceramics in Japan for over 1000 years and still today a thriving community of


contemporary potters. “The first 10 years of learning pottery was a trial and error period,” he says, “figuring out what kind of work I wanted to create. I worked in a factory, made tableware, helped out at a school and experienced a lot of things concerning pottery in this time.” He absorbed traditions of making that stretch back to ancient China. As Nora Von Achenbach outlines in her essay in a recent monograph, a core principle of classical Chinese aesthetics is the idea that the artist should give expression to Qi “the pulsating breath of life which flows through the cosmos and resonates within all things and living beings,”* - making it visible to the eye. The dynamic, diagonal lines of ink used to create a mountain in traditional Chinese landscape painting, evoking the lines of force which run through them, are just one example of the many techniques learned by Chinese artists to accomplish this, just as Michikawa’s careful faceting, scoring and slicing on the sides of his pots emulate the actions of nature on sand and rock. But if tradition is one strong impulse in Michikawa’s work, evident also in his attachment to functional ware and his adherence to the rough Wabi philosophy of earlier Japanese ceramicists, another is his own sensibility. Michikawa tells me, “The number one source of inspiration for me would be my hometown Hokkaido: the volcanoes, the lakes and snow, the trees and stones and especially the energy of the volcanic eruptions.” In Seto, too, a town built along a river and surrounded by mountains, Michikawa and his family live at the foot of a mountain, with the forest all around. It was when he discovered the technique for twisting his pots from the inside, that Michikawa was able to release this instinctive connection with nature into his making. Rather than focusing solely on the outside of the pot, as it spins on the wheel, Michikawa generates a countervailing energy from within, just as a planet is the joint-creation of internal and external forces. The character of the pot, as it emerges from this tumultuous birth, is then enhanced by Michikawa’s choice of glazes: tanka charcoal to create the black pieces, kohiki for the white ones and a grey produced by the use


of a wood-fired kiln. Michikawa comments, “As my works already have movement to them, it is not necessary for me to use a lot of colour.” For this exhibition, Erskine, Hall & Coe has invited the photographer Yoshinori Seguchi to exhibit alongside. A long-time friend and colleague of the artist, he has taken many photographs of Michikawa’s pots, including the beautiful images used in the catalogue for Michikawa’s landmark exhibition at the Taimiao in the Forbidden City, Beijing, in 2005, the first ever exhibition there of work by a foreign ceramic artist. Seguchi’s startling photographs of Michikawa’s pots from above, which capture the shadows cast by the pots as well as the pots themselves, acknowledge that the rapid circular movement which gave them birth are as much a part of their identity and meaning as their stately, now stationary bodies. His landscape photographs, meanwhile, express a vision of nature complementary with Michikawa’s own, where an appreciation of structure accompanies a profound respect for nature’s elusive power and mystery. As Michikawa puts it, “My concept is that my pieces are never truly complete; collaborations like this have the potential to turn them into something completely new.”

Emma Crichton-Miller, 2017 author and arts journalist

* This quote was taken from the monograph, Shozo Michikawa: Ceramic Art by Clare Pollard and Nora Von Achenbach, published in 2017 by Arnoldsche Art Publishers (p 12).


Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form, 2017 36 x 16 cm (SHM-0219)


Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form, 2017 27 x 15 cm (SHM-0220)


Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form, 2017 22.5 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0221)


Tanka with Silver Topology Form, 2016 12.5 x 20.5 x 8.5 cm (SHM-0222)


Tanka with Silver Topology Form, 2016 11.5 x 10 x 14.5 cm (SHM-0223)


Tanka with Silver Topology Form, 2016 10 x 19 x 10.5 cm (SHM-0224)


Tanka with Silver Topology Form, 2016 13 x 15 x 12 cm (SHM-0225)


Photography by Yoshinori Seguchi, 2016


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 66 x 18 cm (SHM-0226)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 34 x 15.2 cm (SHM-0227)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 37.5 x 11.6 cm (SHM-0228)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 36 x 17 cm (SHM-0229)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 27 x 17.6 cm (SHM-0230)


Natural Ash Topology Form, 2017 21 x 22.5 x 9.6 cm (SHM-0231)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 18 x 20.5 cm (SHM-0232)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 10 x 28 x 11.2 cm (SHM-0233)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 13.6 x 18 x 17 cm (SHM-0234)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 18.5 x 10.5 cm (SHM-0235)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form Mizusashi, 2017 18.5 x 16.2 cm (SHM-0236)


Photography by Yoshinori Seguchi, 2016


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2016 28.5 x 17.5 cm (SHM-0237)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 23 x 14 cm (SHM-0238)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 20 x 19 x 15.5 cm (SHM-0239)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 16 x 16.5 cm (SHM-0240)


Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2017 14 x 15 x 16 cm (SHM-0241)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 18 x 20 cm (SHM-0243)


Photography by Yoshinori Seguchi, 2012-2017


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 31 x 16 cm (SHM-0242)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 16 x 19 cm (SHM-0244)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 49 x 17 cm (SHM-0245)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 35 x 17 cm (SHM-0246)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 24.5 x 24 cm (SHM-0247)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 24.5 x 18.5 cm (SHM-0248)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2017 24.5 x 12 cm (SHM-0249)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2015 19.5 x 16 cm (SHM-0250)


Kohiki Sculptural Form, 2016 12.5 x 19.5 x 16 cm (SHM-0251)


Kohiki Sculptural Form Mizusashi, 2016 15.5 x 20 cm (SHM-0252)


Photography by Yoshinori Seguchi, 2012-2017


Kohiki with Iron Topology Form, 2016 19 x 24 x 11 cm (SHM-0253)


Kohiki with Iron Topology Form, 2017 15.5 x 15 x 9.5 cm (SHM-0254)


Shino Topology Form, 2017 17 x 24 x 11 cm (SHM-0255)


Benikohiki Sculptural Form, 2016 13 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0256)


Shino Tea Bowl, 2014 10 x 11.1 cm (SHM-0257)


Public Collections Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK China-Japan Exchange Center, Beijing, China Crocker Art Museum, California, USA Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, European Museum of Modern Glass, Coburg, Germany Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza, Italy Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza, Italy Museum fßr Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, Wales Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA Qinglingsi Temple, Xi’an, China Shimada City Museum, Japan Worchester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA


Shozo Michikawa (b. 1953) Born on the northern most island in Japan, Hokkaido. He initially had a career in business after graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University, but took up evening classes in art where he discovered his talent and passion for pottery. A few years later, Michikawa made the decision to give up his life in business and to focus on creating ceramics. In July 2005, he was given the honour of being the first Japanese artist to have a solo exhibition of his art in The Forbidden City, Beijing. Michikawa’s ceramics have been widely exhibited in Japan and around the world, including China, America, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Philippines, Mongolia, and the UK. “The energy of nature is truly immense. No matter how much our sciences and civilisation might evolve, the power of human beings is inconsequential in the face of natural threats such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, and erupting volcanoes. I think this is why the works created by the natural world, for example, the patterns formed by the winds on the desert sands, or a majestic cliff overlooking the ocean, contain a power that can never be imitated by human hands. My own creative activities have been inspired by various phenomena in the natural world; even those that can be seen in everyday life.” Michikawa Yoshinori Seguchi (b. 1962) Born in Tokyo, he graduated from the Nippon Photography Institute in 1974 and went on to establish Studio Io, specialising in commercial photography. There have been several exhibitions of his photographs in Japan, and in 2016 his work was featured alongside Michikawa’s ceramics in Nature into Art at the Seto Ceramics and Glass Art Center in Aichi, Japan. Seguchi and Michikawa have occasionally collaborated together for over twenty years.

Further biographical information about both artists may be found on our website.


Shozo Michikawa’s Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017

Forty Years, Forty Pots, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Shozo Michikawa, Lacoste Gallery, Concord, USA Nature into Art, Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines

2016

Nature into Art, Di Legno Gallery, Singapore Shozo Michikawa, Japan Art, Galerie Friedrich Müller, Frankfurt, Germany Shozo Michikawa Cerámica contemporánea, Centro Cultural, Corporación Cultural Las Condes, Chile Shozo Michikawa, Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza, Italy Nature into Art, Seto Ceramics and Glass Art Center, Seto, Japan

2015

Shozo Michikawa: The Forbidden City, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Ballades en terres, Mizen Fine Art, Paris, France Shozo Michikawa, Puls Contemporary Ceramics, Brussels, Belgium

2014

Shozo Michikawa, Japan Art, Galerie Friedrich Müller, Frankfurt, Germany Shozo Michikawa, Hélène Aziza, Paris, France Nature into Art, Gallery Hu, Nagoya, Japan

2013

Shozo Michikawa, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Shozo Michikawa, Peter Kummermann, Geneva, Switzerland Shozo Michikawa, Nihonbashi Mitukoshi Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2012

Shozo Michikawa, Galerie Hélène Porée, Paris, France Nature into Art, Materia, Québéc, Canada

2011

Shozo Michikawa, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Shozo Michikawa, Puls Contemporary Ceramics, Brussels, Belgium The Nature of Clay, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York, USA Shozo Michikawa, Terre Rossa, Leipzig, Germany Nature into Art, Gallery Hu, Nagoya, Japan

2009

Nature into Art, Galerie Besson, London, UK Shozo Michikawa, Art Gallery Oyama, Osaka, Japan


2008

Shozo Michikawa, Gallery Hu, Nagoya, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Clara Scremini Gallery, Paris, France

2007

Thirty Years, Thirty Pots, Galerie Besson, London, UK Thirty Years, Thirty Pots, Izukan Gallery, Manila, Philippines Shozo Michikawa, Tokyo Eizo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2006

Shozo Michikawa, Puls Contemporary Ceramics, Brussels, Belgium

2005

Shozo Michikawa, Blue Spiral Gallery, Asheville, USA Returning to Nature’s Simplicity and Truth, Shandong Museum, Shandong, China Returning to Nature’s Simplicity and Truth, Forbidden City, Beijing, China Shozo Michikawa, Izukan Gallery, Manila, Philippines Shozo Michikawa, Wa-noi, Shizuoka, Japan

2004

Shozo Michikawa, Galerie Besson, London, UK

2003

Shozo Michikawa, Tobu Department Store Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Matsuzakaya Department Store Gallery, Shizuoka, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Izukan Gallery, Manila, Philippines

2001

Shozo Michikawa, Tobu Department Store Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Ulaanbaatar Art Gallery, Mongolia

2000

Shozo Michikawa, Mitsukoshi Department Store Gallery, Kurashiki, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Tobu Department Store Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1997

Shozo Michikawa, Tobu Department Store Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Shozo Michikawa, Hiraya Gallery, Manila, Philippines

1996

Shozo Michikawa, Hiraya Gallery, Manila, Philippines

1995

Shozo Michikawa, Hankyu Department Store Gallery, Osaka, Japan


Coinciding with our exhibition, Shozo Michikawa: Ceramic Art has been published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers. The monograph looks retrospectively at Michikawa’s career and achievements.

All works by Shozo Michikawa are stoneware. The exhibition is illustrated online at www.erskinehallcoe.com/exhibitions/shozo-michikawa-2017/ Design by fivefourandahalf Printed by Witherbys Lithoflow Printing Photography of ceramics by Stuart Burford Portrait of Shozo Michikawa by Michael Harvey


Shozo Michikawa: Forty Years, Forty Pots  

Shozo Michikawa’s third exhibition at Erskine, Hall & Coe, Forty Years, Forty Pots celebrates his life as a potter. It will feature his cer...

Shozo Michikawa: Forty Years, Forty Pots  

Shozo Michikawa’s third exhibition at Erskine, Hall & Coe, Forty Years, Forty Pots celebrates his life as a potter. It will feature his cer...