A very successful exhibition and sale is taking place at the gallery of Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. at 39 East 78th Street, New York: BIRDS OF DAWN: PIONEERS OF JAPAN’S SODEISHA CERAMIC MOVEMENT”. Some of us may not be so familiar with this movement. This show focuses on the three seminal founders of the extremely influential Sodeisha ceramic movement: Yagi Kazuo (1918-79), Suzuki Osamu (1926-2001), and Yamada Hikaru (1923-2001).

The name Sodeisha literally translated means ” Crawling through Mud Association” and the movement derived its name from a Chinese ceramic glazing term to express their complete absorption with their medium and its inherent limitations. Sodeisha was formed in 1948 in opposition to the Mingei or folk art movement that dominated the ceramic style and philosophy in Japan at the time. Sodeisha artists took a non-traditional avant-garde approach to their works focusing on sculptural ceramics. It helped me to understand their art when I learned that Sodeisha artists in impoverished conditions of post-war Kyoto first turned to creating functional vessels sometimes using Chinese Cizhou vessels as models. Cizhou ware often exhibit stark forms and colors. While these Sodeisha pieces are utilitarian they are nonetheless very sculptural pieces. In the mid 1950s Sodeisha artists were able to turn to more non-functional works of art. Some of the pieces are reminiscent of the bronze pieces of a Brancusi but fashioned of clay.

This exhibition has been ten years in the making and Joan Mirviss reports that twenty-nine out of fifty-four works have already been sold with several heading to important art museums. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated book that includes essays by a number of recognized scholars and art curators. BIRDS OF DAWN runs through April 29, 2011.

Here is a piece by Suzuki Osamu

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  1. April 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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