Ceramics on Lacquerware: Keiji Ito and Tohru Matsuzaki

Ippodo Gallery Tokyo is holding “Ceramics on the Lacquerware”, a collaborative exhibition featuring Keiji Ito, ceramic artist, and Tohru Matsuzaki, wooden lacquerware artist.


The two artists were first connected by Ippodo Gallery and Shigeru Uchida, renowned interior designer. Uchida once wrote “Keiji Ito’s artwork reassures me ‘the power of form’. The spirit of things lurks in the form.” He also acclaimed Matsuzaki by commenting, “Matsuzaki’s red is undoubtedly Jomon red. The Jomon red embodies that of the sun. The big, nonchalant sun is directly reflected into Matsuzaki’s works.”


Matsuzaki begins with selecting wood as a raw material, then carves it into a shape by using chisel and plane, and finally applies lacquer to it over and over again. The process of making lacquerware usually ends there; however, he further polishes it for completion. The result is the art work that would last for centuries.


When he was a student, Ito often visited Nara, went to see old temples, sketched Buddha statues, and took pictures of architecture and Buddhist pagodas which intrigued him. Although his focus was switched to the series that expresses “forms” evoking “sacred” objects in the 1980s, his origin is actually in Nara.


When Ito’s three-dimensional, sacred “pagoda” is placed on Matsuzaki’s wooden, lacquered tray, a new mysterious power is generated.