Shozo Michikawa - Sasama

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Front cover: Natural Ash Sculptural Form 43 x 16 cm (SHM-0262)

SHOZO MICHIKAWA SASAMA 1 - 24 September 2020

15 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4SP | | +44 (0) 207 491 1706

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 27 x 14 cm (SHM-0268)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 45 x 16 cm (SHM-0265)

Village of Sasama, and portrait of Shozo Michikawa by Yoshinori Seguchi

‘Sasama’ by Shozo Michikawa I was once asked by a friend of mine if I would like to go and visit a place called Sasama; a village troubled by a declining population. My friend had voiced concerns about the possibility of a village with such rich history dying out. I accepted his invitation and first visited Sasama in the autumn of 2006. As you drive along the long winding mountain roads, and eventually come out of a cedar forest where the clear stream approaches the path, you are greeted by a vast sea of green; a panoramic view of tea farms surrounded by village houses. For a brief moment you feel as if you have traveled back in time; the enchanting stillness in the air and calm lifestyle of the people in the village reminded me of an old folk tale that I read as a child. I instantly knew if I could somehow introduce Sasama to the world, something special could happen. I have met many friends and colleagues across the globe through pottery and the idea of a ceramic festival here excited me. Based off my experience at the International Ceramic Festival held in Aberystwyth I proposed this idea to the locals. Nobody had any knowledge of ceramics but they all very kindly put their trust in me to go forward with the project. Hence, in November 2011, the first ever SASAMA International Ceramic Art Festival was held. Although in the beginning, securing financial support was challenging, after explaining my goals for the project, we had the participation of thirteen International artists and fifty young Japanese artists; a far higher number than we had anticipated. However, this would be the year where Japan was to be hit by the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, which caused roads leading into the village to close and many other disruptions. Despite being faced with these challenges, the festival proved to be a great success with 1500 people visiting from around the world. I found it extremely touching when the elderly residents of the village expressed their appreciation and told me that this was the first time in fifty years that they had so many visitors. The success of the festival managed to impress the mayor of Sasama who has since supported us every two years when the festival is held. Next year will be our sixth festival. The ‘Natural Ash’ works in this exhibition have all been fired for 3 days in an anagama kiln in Sasama; the firing wood used was cut down and collected from the mountains surrounding the village by its residents. If you ever have the chance of visiting Japan, please consider visiting Sasama.

Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form 28 x 19 x 16 cm (SHM-0281)

Tanka with Silver Sculptural Form 54 x 20 x 34 cm (SHM-0282)

Village of Sasama, photography by Yoshinori Seguchi

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 39 x 14 cm (SHM-0263)

Bizen with Lid 12.5 x 20 cm (SHM-0273)

Kohiki Sculptural Form 26 x 15 x 9 cm (SHM-0279)

Kohiki Sculptural Form 21 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0280)

Far right: Kohiki with Handle 61 x 27 x 14.5 cm (SHM-0275)

Village of Sasama, photography by Yoshinori Seguchi

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 33.5 x 15.5 cm (SHM-0264)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 26 x 20 x 13 cm (SHM-0267)

(left) Yohen Shino Tea Bowl, 9.2 x 11.8 cm (SHM-0287) (right) Yohen Setoguro Tea Bowl, 9 x 11 cm (SHM-0285)

(left) Benikohiki Tea Bowl, 9 x 11 cm (SHM-0286) (right) Yohen Setoguro Tea Bowl, 9.5 x 10.2 cm (SHM-0288)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 29 x 14.5 cm (SHM-0272)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 42.2 x 17 cm (SHM-0271)

Shino Sculptural Form, 18 x 18.5 cm (SHM-0284)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 18 x 14 cm (SHM-0270)

Shino Sculptural Form, 19 x 15 cm (SHM-0283)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 17 x 12 x 11 cm (SHM-0269)

Kohiki Sculptural Form 37.5 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0277)

Kohiki Sculptural Form 38.5 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0276)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 30 x 19 x 17 cm (SHM-0266)

Kohiki Sculptural Form 28 x 17 x 13.5 cm (SHM-0278)

Natural Ash Sculptural Form 49 x 18 cm (SHM-0261)

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. Public Collections Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK China-Japan Exchange Center, Beijing, China Crocker Art Museum, California, USA Faenza International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, European Museum of Modern Glass, Coburg, Germany Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA Musée Cernuschi, Paris, France Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza, Italy Museum für 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, Shimada, Japan Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK Worchester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA Awards & Distinctions 2019 2018 2005 1991

Loewe Craft Prize Finalist Gold Medal, International Craft Fair, Munich, Germany First Prize, Ceramica Mosaico Exhibition, Ravenna, Italy Shinpei Asai Prize, Design Forum in Seto, Seto, Japan

All works are stoneware, dated 2019 or 2020, and are fully illustrated at Studio photography by Stuart Burford. Installation photography by Andy Stagg. Copyright Erskine, Hall & Coe Ltd. Printed by WKG Print.

Natural Ash Sculptural Form, 2020 Stoneware, 26 x 20 cm (SHM-0267)