Thank you for joining our Gallery Talk: Hafu Matsumoto with Mari Iizuka “Regarding the Iizuka family; and what is the Life of Bamboo?” !

The Gallery Talk at Ippodo Gallery on June 13, 2017

The bamboo artist, Hafu Matsumoto and Mari Iizuka ( only daughter of Shokansai, granddaughter of Rokansai Iizuka ) talked about bamboo weaving, the tradition and process.
The anecdotes about Shokansai Iizuka and Rokansai Iizuka were fascinating and they brought us insightful perceptions and visions to the art of bamboo weaving!





Bamboo Exposed: Mastery in Modernity of Hafu Matsumoto – Exploring the lineage of Take-Kôgei bamboo from Rokansai and Shokansai Iizuka



- Opening Reception

Thursday, June 8, 6 – 8 p.m.

- Gallery Talk : Hafu Matsumoto with Mari Iizuka* ” What is the Life of Bamboo ? ”
*Mari Iizuka is a Shokansai Iizuka’s only daughter

Tuesday, June 13, 3 – 4 p.m.


June 8th – 30th, 2017
Mon. – Fri. : 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Saturdays by Appointment

Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present a solo show of Hafu Matsumoto (b. 1952), the last disciple of Shokansai Iizuka (1919-2004), dedicated to the tradition and innovation of Japanese craftsmanship. 20 of works will be on view, demonstrating the evolution of bamboo artistry through the solo showcase of Matsumoto’s unique skill. The exhibition coincides with Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection, which reunites the works of both his teacher Shokansai and his father, the master Rokansai, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this June.

The Bamboo Legacy

Although bamboo has been prized for thousands of years as a functional material, the Iizuka family led the life of modern bamboo. The legendary Take (bamboo)-Kôgei (craft) master Rokansai Iizuka’s (1890-1958) life’s ambition was to bring flattened bamboo art to the forefront. He was among the earliest pioneers striving to showcase bamboo as a significant art. His strong will and and extensive artistic training in drawing, painting, calligraphy, and poetry infused his interest in bamboo with a diverse range of knowledge and style.

Because Rokansai studied Sadô (tea ceremony) and Ikebana (flower arrangement), he manifested three styles of tea ceremony and brought them into Take- Kôgei. Iizuka’s bamboo wares are in one of three categories: Shin (真), Gyou (行), and Sou (草). Shin is characterized by elegant attention to detail in technique, while Gyou is a more relaxed. The earthiness and simplicity of the Sou style renders it the most difficult. Sou, known as wabi-sabi, is beautiful in its imperfection. In its reflection of reality, the true challenge is revealed.

Shokansai was Rokonsai’s son. He pursued basketry under the family’s legendary master. He enhanced Rokansai’s efforts in bamboo with the prized embroidered plaiting technique, Sashiami, as well as bundled plaiting, Tabaneami, and irregular ‘cracked ice’ plaiting, Hyoretsuami. As his career progressed, the dedicated Shokansai received the honor of Living National Treasure in 1982.

Hafu Matsumoto Today

Deriving from bamboo’s humble heritage and Rokansai’s groundbreaking technique, Matsumoto was Shokansai’s last apprentice. As such, Matsumoto’s work guards Japanese functional traditions while innovating bamboo as a sculptural form. His methodology at once embraces yet opposes the original traditions, challenging in its bridge between bamboo’s artistic future and its past. That Matsumoto is one of few living artists upholding these three techniques today is rare and significant.

Rokansai developed the Noshitake technique in Sou, but only Hafu Matsumoto has reprised it. The bamboo is carefully boiled, stretched, and ironed flat for its final smooth and malleable texture. It is hard work but the passion for the craft takes precedence, and the desire to present every aspect of the unmarred bamboo at its highest quality. As Matsumoto has said, “I weave bamboo with my pleasure. I weave by my body and mind, not by my hand.”

Hafu Matusmoto’ s current Noshitake took shape by trial and error. He learned the process himself through careful study. There are two general techniques within this bamboo art: Ami (Weaving) or Kumi (Crossing). This new development, Noshitake, does not belong to either one.

He continues to train in the traditional martial art and sword practice of I-ai dô, and studied Kendô, Japanese fencing, in childhood. He applies this discipline to the crafting of bamboo arts, treating it like the dō (way) he still studies today.

Bamboo is the severest material in Japanese Kôgei. Its endurance is reminiscent of a person of principle; its unbending nature esteemed mimic a strong, open mind. Like bamboo, the artist and his work have a straightforward and independent spirit: deceptively simple, yet all-encompassing. Much of the artist’s process is based in the preparation of the bamboo itself. Craftsman face the rawness of nature, held captive by the material’s properties. While these bamboo challenges can break the spirit like a dull blade, the obstacles are what make Take-Kôgei so unique.

Ultimately, Ippodo Gallery’s commitment to harmony in the natural world is consistent in this exhibition. Bamboo’s unyielding nature and the integrity of the form preserve the earth’s untouched beauty.

Artist Bio

Hafu Matsumoto was born in Haneda, Tokyo, in 1952, and began apprenticing for Shokansai Iizuka in 1972. In 1976, he opened his first studio in Kyoto, subsequently moving to his present studio in Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture. He has held solo shows in Tokyo, and been featured in group shows across Japan, New York, and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. He accepted the Chairman’s prize at the 61st Japan Traditional Kogei Exhibition in 2014.

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

The fifth-anniversary edition of Collective Design closed last week!

The fifth-anniversary edition of Collective Design closed last week!
We Ippodo Gallery were able to reach a diverse cross section of new clients and in general we found the reception to our artists very enthusiastic!

Link to the official press release of Collective Design :

Ippodo Gallery to Participate in COLLECTIVE DESIGN this May!


Ippodo Gallery is proud to announce that it will participate in the Collective Design from May 3-7, 2017.

Ippodo Gallery selects only those artists that represent a balanced synthesis of craft and creativity.
The gallery distinguishes itself with a unique sense of the natural world, and all works selected function as a testament to the gallery’s pursuit of reverence and beauty in nature.


Skylight Clarkson Sq
550 Washington St
New York City

Booth C3


Collector’s Preview ( Invitation Only )
Tuesday, May 2, 3 – 6 pm

General Admission:

Wednesday, May 3, 11 am – 8 pm

Thursday, May 4, 11 am – 8 pm

Friday, May 5, 11 am – 9 pm

Saturday, May 6, 11 am – 8 pm

Sunday, May 7, 11 am – 5 pm


Exhibiting Artists:

Yuki Hayama
Yukiya Izumita
Ken Matsubara
Mitsukuni Misaki
Katsuya Ohgita
Momoyo Omuro
Mokichi Otsuka
Shota Suzuki
Midori Tsukada
Ikuro Yagi
Shinya Yamamura


Please visit the Collective Design webpage for more information.

Surface Folds : Yukiya Izumita Clay Wares is coming soon!

14_PR04537(ShokoRt)_片 'Hen' Flake

Surface Folds : Yukiya Izumita Clay Wares

Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present Surface Folds¸ a show of Yukiya Izumita’s clay wares in New York. Coinciding with Asia Week New York from March 9th to April 7th, 30 works will showcase Izumita’s deep understanding of clay and artistry, honed over a lifetime of training and passion. In his exploration of technique through paper and clay, mastery gives way to dual fragility and strength — finding balance.

Marrying the techniques of origami and sculpture, Izumita layers paper on clay and lets it dry. One key ingredient to his unique clay is Chamotte, a pre-calcined, refractory clay fired and ground before being used inside the brick’s recipe. After many experiments with mixed ash, soils, and shimmering manganese mineral, he has mastered the production of a pale metallic texture in the final coating.

In a word, Izumita strives for lightness. His passion is to release from the heavy weight of stress in life, and striving for this weightless serenity is the solution. As a poet and an observer of the natural world, the artist is driven by his desire to metaphorically unburden — to lighten the load.

In his sense of discovery as he incorporates many materials, he uses local earth as the base of his work. The salty soil intrinsic to the works comes from the seaside, and Izumita carries four pounds bags back and forth to be used in his art. The heaviness of the earth gives way to lightness of the craftsmanship.
The salt-rich sands are in a subdued palette of red, yellow, and black, colors coming from nature. Izumita is influenced by the gestural style of Alberto Giacometti and Marino Marini, so the sharp shapes of his work maintain organic colors and natural lines. A recurring theme throughout the showcase is juxtaposition, challenging the balance of contradictory sensations in aesthetics and ideology.

Once the soil has been harnessed, Izumita begins the process of papering the pieces. He folds papers over and over, feeling the rhythm of the folding in his hands. As the tactile process takes shape, he envisions the natural landscape of the earth, and his spirit transcends the motion. This is the source of his artistic inspiration. Then he gets to his work, manifesting the evanescence in form.

Izumita trained in Kokuji-ware under Gakuho Shimodake in 1992, opening his own workshop in Noda Village, Iwate Prefecture, on the border with the northern ceramic production area of Aomori Prefecture in 1995. Northeast Japan (Tohoku) is very severe, and Izumita drew strength from the coastal winds and the endurance found in seaside culture.

Izumita has had a lengthy career, with extensive acclaim in Japan. His international acclaim began when he participated in SOFA New York in 2005, then exhibited in New Mexico and at Ippodo in 2012. In Japan, Izumita has been the recipient of numerous accolades, such as the Excellence Award at the 20th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition in 2009, as well as the Grand Prix at the Asahi Ceramic Exhibitions of 2000 and 2002.

In 2011, his childhood hometown, Rikuzentakata, was swallowed away by Great Tsunami in 2011. Ippodo Gallery continues to showcase his work as a testament to its mission in pursuit of the beauty of nature, with a sense of global consciousness for the fragility of the environment and the strength of quiet serenity.

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

View our Special Video of the Exhibition of Ceramic Works by Yuki Hayama -Beauty of Life – In collaboration with Joseph Carini Carpets !

Please click to watch the video.

Please click to watch the video.

Ippodo Gallery invites you to view the special exhibition video above, featuring ceramic works by Yuki Hayama from Beauty of Life, which ran from 9/9 -9/29 at Joseph Carini Carpets.

This exceptional footage recounts Hayama’s background and purpose as an artist, with an exclusive interview set amidst scenes from the beautiful installation at Carini’s space in Tribeca.
We hope this video recalls your visit to the show, or exposes you to this magnificent work for the first time.

The show received rave reviews, and we were pleased to welcome Japanese First Lady Akie Abe to the gallery on September 19th.
She was profoundly fascinated by Hayama’s work and was very moved by her visit. This exhibition recalled the Silk Road’s legacy here in 21st century New York!

The ripple of the “Beauty of Life” is expanding to Japan and the world.
We continue to showcase artists spreading peace through interpretations of the natural world, both aesthetically and intellectually serene.
The discipline spent to create these masterworks is driven by rectitude and prayer, resulting in long-lasting works of beauty.

December 20, 2016

Ippodo Gallery New York