The Garden of Dreams: Porcelain Stories by Yuki Hayama
“Even when broken, fragments of ceramics remain, never to be totally destroyed but serving as a bridge between the past and the people of the future.”
A surface completely covered in flowers; Yuki Hayama’s Offering Bowl with Ten Thousand Flowers is like a radiant dream. The form of the offering bowl suggests a sense of openness and vulnerability, one that can be filled with prayer and love. Stories tell of our ancestors, offering flowers to the deceased nearly sixty thousand years ago; however, these flowers wilt and change with the seasons, with time their fragrant petals and lush colors fade away. Yuki Hayama creates a flower that never wilts, a garden that remains vibrant forever, a memento that has been dedicated to heaven.
Hayama says that the past is the reference that can be used to speculate on the future, leading him to study history and the classics avidly. Hayama originally aspired to become a writer and this passion is reflected in his designs. He illustrates stories based on the lives of people who appear in myths and legends passed down over thousands of years. He wields a compass, one that guides him into the future and gives birth to his designs. Having practiced his designs more than ten thousand times, his hands are masterful, and he is able to draw directly onto the porcelain. His control of the brush allows him to overlap multiple lines within the space of a single millimeter, applying the cobalt colorant without hesitation. The result is a paean of praise to all living things, representing the countless tears of humanity and the adoration of mother Earth.
Held in the palm of the hand, Hayama’s works come to life. The imagery invites us to dance and the image of someone close to us springs into mind and the beauty of the thought overflows. It is through sharing the joy and beauty of Hayama’s porcelain stories which allows us to inspire generations to come.
New York, NY - Ippodo Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of The Garden of Dreams: Porcelain Stories by Yuki Hayama, the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. This show of over 20 works that blend the distinction between painting and ceramics will be on display from April 30 to May 28, 2021, by appointment only.Yuki Hayama (b. 1961) grew up and works in Arita*, Saga Prefecture, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain and one of the world’s leading porcelain centers.
At age 15, Hayama left school to pursue the porcelain tradition, apprenticing with a local workshop before opening his own atelier at 24. Each of Hayama’s porcelain works is a multistage, multimedia project, including art historical research, a background narrative, and the physical creation of the object. Hayama begins by selecting and researching the specific style that will become the basis for each piece.
Since its earliest iterations, Japanese porcelain artists have drawn inspiration from ceramics traditions around the world, most notably from China, but also from Europe and the Middle East. This interlinking heritage is evident in The Garden of Dreams, which explores ceramics and design traditions from around the world and across time periods. After selecting a style, Hayama composes a narrative story that becomes the final catalyst and inspiration for the physical object. Once the project’s literary stage is complete, Hayama creates the porcelain object, typically on a potter’s wheel. After an initial bisque firing in the kiln, Hayama begins the painstaking process of etsuke, or painting ceramics*.
Without any underdrawings, Hayama outlines his painting relying on 128 memorized flower patterns. At this stage, the porcelain’s surface is still porous, and each stroke leaves an indelible, irreversible mark. Using five traditional hand-ground glazes made from natural materials, Hayama meticulously layers the resulting pigments to create as many as 72 colors, refiring his works up to 12 times to achieve the desired hues. A beautiful example of Hayama’s meticulous process is through the centerpiece of this exhibition, Goddess of The Blue Moon.This piece depicts an elegant queen with wave-like garments and ethereal features holding “eternal life” and running to the moon. A movement of gilded leaves delicately dance around as she seems to gently prance across the surface of the plate. Surrounding the figure are the 12 zodiacs, the symmetry of the design is exquisite, delicate and a result of dedicated practice.
The Garden of Dreams explores ideas of creation, recreation, and rebirth. Hayama has written: “Even when broken, fragments of ceramics remain, never to be totally destroyed but serving as a bridge between the past and the people of the future.”