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Exhibition brings together works by photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg and ceramicist Taizo Kuroda
Taizo Kuroda, Untitled 15, 2015, yakishime porcelain, 30.7 x 52.0 cm. Image © the artist, courtesy Tristan Hoare.

LONDON.- Tristan Hoare is opening its new London space with Ensō, an exhibition that brings together works by the German photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg and the Japanese ceramicist Taizo Kuroda.

Schulz-Dornburg is best-known for her starkly poetic black and white photographs, which she presents in series, uniting conceptual and documentary practices. A contemporary of the ‘New Topographics’ group who came to prominence in the 1970s, her images are an exercise in restrained, formal objectivity and often feature architectural structures and desolate landscapes. Through the careful consideration of repeated, external forms, she hints at narratives of transition, mediation, exile and displacement.

Taizo Kuroda is one of the most important artists in contemporary Japanese ceramics. Adventuring far beyond the norms of conventional pottery, his work is characterised by its refined form and immaculate surfaces, elements that echo his own pursuit of universal beauty. Working in white porcelain, he creates sculptures that resemble vases and bowls, examining the limit between the physical object and its latent meaning.

Gallery director Tristan Hoare says: ‘The Buddhist concept of Ensō proposes that perfection can be achieved through the repetition of a single act, and this philosophy is evident in the practices of these two artists. Both are seeking to reveal something beyond physical representation, and both are absolutely uncompromising in their quest for aesthetic perfection.’

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg (b. 1938)
‘I was always moving towards two points of tension: concentrating on the inner dimension and feeling towards the external viewpoint.’ Ursula Schulz-Dornburg
Schulz-Dornburg is known for her interest in architecture and signature topographical style, focusing on a single form and cataloging its variants. Using mainly black and white photography she builds a picture of a place using a process that is both formal and intuitive.

Tristan Hoare has worked with Schulz-Dornburg for many years; indeed, he opened his first gallery with a presentation of her photographs in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in museums worldwide including Tate Modern, London, in its recent exhibition Conflict. Time. Photography, as well as Kunstparterre Munich; Musee dʼArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Art Institute of Chicago; Corcoran Gallery, Washington; Centro Fotografico Alvaraes Bravo, Mexico City; IVAM Valencia; 21er Haus, Museum of 20th Century Art, Vienna.

Taizo Kuroda (b.1946)
‘What I am ultimately looking for is a perfect space. I am not ready yet to make such a form however. With a wheel, it is possible to make a piece that is almost perfect, but I cannot allow myself to do that yet.’ – Taizo Kuroda

Kuroda begun his training in Canada in the 1970s, and returned to Japan in 1981 where he completed his apprenticeship under the master ceramicist Tatsuzo Shimaoka, who became a Living National Treasure of Japan. In 1991, Kuroda built his home and studio in Futo, Izu Peninsula in Japan, and a year later began making his signature high-fired, unglazed ‘yakishime’ white porcelain. For Kuroda, once the glaze is removed the form and texture of his pieces are accentuated. His works include bowls and stands of all sizes, high-shouldered cylindrical vases and occasionally urn-shaped vases with full, rounded shoulders. Some of Kuroda’s most distinctive works feature breaks in the surface, jagged apertures that emphasise the irregular lines of his vessels. Pure white porcelain clay is notoriously difficult to produce by hand and the fine lines and thinness of the porcelain in places demonstrates Kuroda’s mastery of his craft.

Kuroda has exhibited internationally, and his works are in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum; The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, New York; and the Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art, California. This is his first exhibition in the UK.

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