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Exhibition spotlights new movement in Japanese ceramics since the late 20th century
Sky Space (Tenku ), 2007, by Fukami Sueharu (Japanese, b. 1947). Pale blue glazed porcelain; mounted on a walnut base. Courtesy of the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection, R2014.8.2. Image © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection introduces museum visitors to the vibrant shapes and diverse textures of contemporary Japanese ceramics created since the late 20th century. On view at the Asian Art Museum from August 19, 2014 through April 5, 2015, the exhibition presents 22 ceramic artworks by 20 artists, showcasing the innovative designs and techniques of the generation born after World War II. These talented artists draw upon the long and revered traditions of Japanese ceramics in search of the new.

Featured in the exhibition are some of the most innovative artists exploring the potential of clay. Akiyama Yō’s distinctive non-functional works have cracked surfaces that have been compared to cooling volcanic magma, as seen in Untitled T-071. Fukami Sueharu incorporates the slip-casting method to create his sleekly sculptural works, using a compressor to inject liquid clay into a mold under high pressure, as in Sky Space . Kondō Takahiro applies glass and precious metals such as silver and gold to his porcelain works, creating surfaces that resemble beaded water, as demonstrated in Silver Mist Glaze. Other highlights of the exhibition include Nagae Shigekazu’s Chain Formation and Kohyama Yasuhisa’s Wind (Kaze).

Works in Tradition on Fire are lent for the exhibition from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection of San Francisco. Since 2008, the Bissingers have amassed an extensive collection of Japanese ceramics by artists active from the late 20th century to the present day. The Bissingers have generously donated to the museum Cornucopia 03-III, a major work by artist Tashima Etsuko. Displayed in Tradition on Fire, Cornucopia 03-III is an intriguing biomorphic form sculpted from opaque white stoneware and vivid, translucent blue glass.

Tradition on Fire was organized by the Asian Art Museum and curated by Dr. Laura Allen, curator of Japanese art, and Dr. Yuki Morishima, assistant curator of Japanese art. The Asian Art Museum is the only venue for the exhibition.

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