Beauty of Life : The Debut Exhibition of Ceramic Works by Yuki Hayama in collaboration with Joseph Carini Carpets

Yuki Hayama— A Ceramic Paradise

Shoko Aono

 Yuki Hayama is an exceptional artist whose ceramics resemble gleaming, finely polished gemstones. Those who see these works of ceramic art are drawn into an uncanny world, unable to discern the era or the land in which they were produced but enchanted by the energy they embody. To those of us who live in this irreplaceable moment, they communicate both a deep history and a grand narrative that connect us with the future. 

            The brushwork is stunningly delicate, with multiple lines of cobalt blue appearing in spaces barely a millimeter wide. The motifs appear swiftly, without underdrawings, emerging from memory through the artist’s subtle sensibility and masterly hand. Those motifs or patterns cover the whole of the jars and bowls, even the invisible undersides of the plates. Layers of rich colors are built up in repeated firings so that every piece is fresh and full of vitality. The Beauty of Life, the theme of this exhibition, includes every living thing in the natural world; flowers in full bloom, animals leaping across the land, trees, arabesques, and fish dancing in the water. His motifs appear to leap out from his ceramics, to free themselves and enter a three-dimensional world. In Hayama’s patterns, every line is saturated with a vital spirit, a prayer and a universal love of humanity, all captured in a living but ordered cosmos. These works show us the paradise to which humans, facing death, living in a world of chaos, nonetheless continue to aspire.

            Hayama was born in 1961 in Arita, a historic Japanese ceramic center. At the age of fifteen, while both head and hand were young and flexible, he began learning to throw pots on the potter’s wheel and to decorate them by painting on them (etsuke). Through years of dedicated study, he has built unprecedented skills. His intense questioning of why, for whom, and how became the source of his creativity. He wants to bring light to the humanity he loves, to create work that will be eternally beautiful, even if broken into fragments. That passion is, to him, a divine mission. Through research on ceramic chemistry and glazes, he has achieved his unique technique for creating fine gold lines. Manipulating minerals like an alchemist, he has set off a revolution in the five-thousand-year-old tradition of painted porcelain. 

            To create living motifs, he closely studies history, learns from classical models, and immerses himself in the civilizations and spiritual worlds of humanity. Following in the footsteps of predecessors whose works have been described for thousands of years in myth and legend, Hayama finds a compass that points toward the future, and his own fantastic narrative is born. In it, he sings of humanity’s fragility and strength. Little by little, the characters that appear in his tales take form and become his motifs. Only then does Hayama replace his pen with the painter’s brush and turn to the potter’s wheel.            

            Hayama’s first exhibition in America will be held at a space shared with Joseph Carini Carpets, in Tribeca in New York City. When Hayama visited America last year, he met Carini, and the two discovered a shared passion for creativity and for living in harmony with nature that launched their collaboration. In the past, culture flowed east and west along the Silk Road. Now, in New York City, where Hayama’s porcelains and Carini’s textiles come together, a new nexus is formed heralding an inspiring and resplendent east-west symphony.