Suzuki Osamu / Uemura Shoko Commemorative Exhibition
3 October (Wed) to 25 December (Tue), 2001
Suzuki Osamu (1926–2001) was born in Gojozaka, Kyōto. He attended Kyōto Second Industrial Arts School and graduated from the ceramics department. In 1948 he joined Yagi Kazuo and others in forming the avant-garde pottery group “Sodeisha.”
He was an active participant in movements to revolutionize Japanese pottery, contributing essays on the subject and backing up his theories with actual works of his own, eventually to be recognized as an important leader in the world of Japanese abstract ceramics.
Suzuki's works were inspired by natural shapes like animals and mountains, and by natural phenomena like wind and snow, all of which he subjected to geometric analysis to build intelligent, concise forms in fired clay. These works, including distinctly modern pieces in blue-white porcelain to reddish-brown ones colored with intelligence and humor, transcended the boundaries of pottery to earn wide positive recognition.
In 1999, Suzuki's pottery was presented in large solo exhibitions at five venues around Japan, including the ceramics wing of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and that same year he became the first potter to win the Asahi Prize. While it was hoped that that he would continue to remain active, regrettably he passed away a short time later.
This exhibition included works representative of Suzuki Osamu's contributions to the Shiseido-sponsored Exhibition of Modern Industrial Arts series (1975–1995), presented along with pieces from a 1999 interview titled “The Artist Speaks” (“Sakusha no Kotoba”) and other records to recall his achievements.
Uemura Shoko (1902–2001), known for his elegant pictures in the flower-and-bird genre, was born in Kyoto, the eldest son of renowned “beauty picture” (bijinga) painter Uemura Shoen. In 1921 he enrolled at the Kyoto Municipal School of Fine Arts and Crafts, and while there also entered the Shoko-sha private painting school as a pupil of Japanese painting authority Nishiyama Suisho. At the young age of just nineteen, Uemura took his first steps onto the stage of painting when his work “Heitei-geishu" (Autumn in the quiet garden) was selected at the Teiten Exhibition (Japan Imperial Exhibition). Later, he continued with Shoko-sha, working diligently to present work after work to both the Teiten and Bunten exhibitions, never allowing the occlusive nature of the old-guard painting world to stall his efforts. In 1948, Uemura joined with fellow artists Yamamoto Kyujin, Akino Fuku and others to establish "Sozo Bijutsu,” a circle of painters endeavoring to “create Japanese-style paintings grounded on a sense of broader worldliness,” which would become the “Sogakai" (Creative Painting Association). Thereafter he remained out of the limelight through most of his life, continuing to pursue in his work a classical tone while at the same time continuing unrivaled efforts in the study and development of the flower-and-bird painting genre. In 1984 these efforts won him an Order of Culture and other nominations, and he continued to be a prominent figure on the stage of Japanese painting.
This exhibition focused on works Uemura Shoko presented as part of his participation in the Shiseido-sponsored Third Tsubakikai (1974–1990) exhibitions, presented along with pieces from a 1998 interview titled “The Artist Speaks” (“Sakusha no Kotoba”) and other records to recall his achievements.