Shokoji is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha denomination. The temple is located on Toyama Bay near the mouth of the Oyabe River in Fushiki Furukokufu, Takaoka. Shokoji historically had strong ties to Honganji Temple, court nobles, and the Maeda family—the rulers of the Kaga Domain (1601–1871) that covered much of present-day Hokuriku—and developed into a magnificent monastery and temple complex. The 12 structures of the temple complex, including the spectacular Hondo (main hall), the Karamon gate relocated from Koshoji Temple in Kyoto, and the koraimon-style Somon (main gate) with fish-shaped shachihoko ornaments, are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties. In 2021, Shokoji Temple finished undergoing a 23-year-long restoration project termed the Great Heisei Restoration.
The special exhibition at Shokoji will include displays in the grand hall (ohiroma), reception hall (shikidai), kitchen (daidokoro), reception room (shoin), and restored connecting corridors (watari roka).
Aoki first encountered lacquerwork during college. Drawn to the deep luster of urushi lacquer, she embraced the medium. Aoki’s sculptures explore the strangeness of human existence through alluring representations of amorphous bodies characterized by elongations, omissions, or other deformations. Her representations of the human form encapsulate a unique sense of reality. Aoki’s bold lacquer sculptures are works of art that resist the narrow categorization of lacquerwork as “craft.”
Born in Gifu Prefecture in 1981, Aoki received her doctorate degree from the Kanazawa College of Art in 2010. Her work has been shown in museums around the world, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She was awarded the Merit Award at the 2019 Kogei World Competition in Kanazawa. Aoki is a lecturer in crafts at the Kanazawa College of Art.
Ito is a versatile ceramic artist who is both a craft artisan and a sculptor. His works range from three-dimensional objects to everyday plates. This diversity is not the result of any conscious attempt to balance both types of work. For Ito, there is no separation between practical craft objects and pieces of artistic expression; both are marked by his touch. Ito’s representations of human forms, in particular, are characteristic of his sculptural mode of expression. While the carefully abstracted forms have a primitive appearance, they are both symbolic and poetic, marked by multidimensionality. Ito’s sculptures may be exhibited individually or in groups, offering a wide breadth of expression. They are a product of Ito’s original creative landscape.
Born in 1935 in Toki, Gifu Prefecture. After graduating from the Musashino Art School (currently Musashino Art University) in 1958, Ito apprenticed under the ceramic designer Hineno Sakuzo. In 1967, Ito established a kiln and began making ceramics. In 1981, he won a Purchase Award at the 39th Premio Faenza (Italy). His works are shown at locations around the world.
nui project (Shobu)
nui project is a key visual arts program operated by Shobu Gakuen, a welfare facility located in the city of Kagoshima. The dynamic program, which derives its name from the word nui (“embroidery”), moves and grows like an amoeba. Putting needle to thread, participants create works of art and design, sometimes even collaborating with designers to make original products. The unique stitching created by each participant produces a rich and multilayered landscape of expression. This individuality, combined with the sheer volume of decoration, gives their work an overwhelming power.
Begun in 1992 in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Nui Project is an initiative operated by Shobu Gakuen, a welfare center for people with mental disabilities. The project, which derives its name from the word nui (“embroidery”), prioritizes individual work, placing value on the unexpected expressions created by each participant’s unique approach to embroidering.
Sudo is a textile designer that produces innovative textiles using everything from traditional dyeing and weaving techniques to contemporary high-tech processes. Sudo has collaborated with mills and craftspeople in textile-producing regions throughout Japan to produce both new materials and revolutionary textiles. Her work is internationally recognized. Sudo draws out the full potential of textiles—a material at the heart of human society—developing everything from clothes to textiles for the home. Her large-scale installation for this exhibition creates a space with a festive atmosphere.
Born in Ishioka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Sudo is the managing director of Nuno Co., Ltd. Sudo creates innovative textiles utilizing techniques ranging from traditional Japanese dyeing and weaving to contemporary high-tech textile processes. Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
Tanaka’s works consist of regular patterns of straight stitches sewn vertically. She uses the same set of five or seven colors, closely arranging the threads side-by-side and alternating the color for each new line. Although the stitches appear to be unsecured straight stitches, closer examination reveals that the threads are secured with backstitches at the beginning and end of the stitching. Tanaka’s meticulous bands of embroidery take form one thread at a time over days and months.
Born in 1979, Tanaka currently lives in Mie Prefecture. She has been a member of Atelier Yamanami since 1997. Tanaka’s works consist of patterns of straight stitches sewn vertically. Over the course of days and months, her meticulous stitching forms a band that spreads across the entire surface of the fabric, one thread at a time.
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV is known for both traditional works of bamboo and large-scale installations. His installations are spectacular: enormous works of physical art that overwhelm the viewer with dynamic, undulating bamboo forms that transform and traverse the installation space. For Tanabe, bamboo is more than just a material—it is an extension of himself. His bamboowork is an act of self-expression and freedom, whether it takes the form of a small basket or a giant installation. He is a truly contemporary craft artist.
Born in 1973 in Osaka as the second son of Chiku’unsai III. After graduating from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, he studied bamboo crafts under his father. He inherited the name Chiku’unsai IV in 2017. In addition to making traditional works, he also creates large-scale installations of woven bamboo. He has debuted works at locations around the world, including the Guimet Museum (Paris).
Nakata uses the traditional technique of kinma to create contemporary pieces. Kinma is a decorative lacquerware technique in which designs are cut into already lacquered surfaces. By varying the nature of the incisions, the multilayered structure of the lacquer can be used to create unique patterns. Nakata’s work is characterized by striking kinma designs applied to simple forms. She creates large works of lacquerware and is active in the fields of design and contemporary art as well as craft.
Born in 1982 in Hokkaido. Nakata learned the colorful art of kinma incised lacquer decorating at the Kagawa Urushi Lacquerware Institute. She graduated from the Kanazawa Utatsuyama Crafts Workshop in 2021. Nakata was a finalist for the 2019 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize (Madrid) and received the Special Recognition Award from Ohi Toyasai at the 2019 Kogei World Competition in Kanazawa. Her work is exhibited at locations around the world.
Nakamura is a ceramicist who draws on the aesthetics of the Kanazawa Rinpa school. Although he mainly creates tea ceramics, in recent years Nakamura’s works have extended to include architectural pieces for tea rooms and large sculptures that dominate the space around them. Recognized for his flexible ideas and design-like approach, Nakamura creates pieces that suit the needs of each venue. His art is characterized by its versatility, subtly fitting into and transforming any space.
Nakamura Takuo is the second son of a third-generation kiln in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. He held his first solo exhibition in 1991, presenting a reinterpretation of the “Kanazawa Rinpa” ceramics created by his father, Nakamura Baizan. Ever since, his works have explored the transitional boundaries between vessel and space. Nakamura’s pieces are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).
Hatta relies on the sensation in his hands to create works of pasted kozo mulberry fibers, a material used in papermaking. As he lost his eyesight in his fifties, Hatta turned to his sense of touch and sound to reintegrate the world around him. He arrived at the process of hand-pasting mulberry fibers as one mode of interacting with the world. When we use our sight to follow Hatta into his works, we are visually exploring something created by his hands. His art stimulates what may be called the tactile sensation of sight, drawing the eye of the viewer to the delicate texture of the kozo fibers.
Every day without fail, Yamagiwa creates similarly shaped clay figures that stand around a dozen centimeters tall. Yamagiwa thinks of the figures as the bodhisattva Jizo and affectionately calls them “Masami Jizo.” The figures have large eyes and mouths and straight, cylindrical torsos that terminate at the base. Their arms are held crossed in front of their torsos. Although the figures vary slightly in size, their forms are exactly the same. Yamagiwa never tires of them. He continues to make them almost like a kind of journal—a testament to his existence. When gathered together, the Masami Jizo fill entire rooms, dominating exhibition spaces with their presence.
Born in 1972, Yamagiwa lives in Shiga Prefecture. He has been a member of Atelier Yamanami since 1990. His earnest and diligent personality is reflected in his work through his propensity for creating iterative forms. He has continued to make “Masami Jizo” (named after the small stone statues of the bodhisattva Jizo) for over 20 years, and their number now exceeds 100,000.
Hot glass in its liquid form can be shaped endlessly. Yokoyama’s works utilize the full potential of this plasticity. In recent years he has begun creating free-form glass objects reminiscent of sugar sculptures, but his earlier works consist of giant pieces of blown glass up to 5 meters long. These blown sculptures are hollow and shaped like cocoons with bulging midpoints. For their size, the walls of the glass are alarmingly thin. Tapered feet protrude from the top and bottom of each object, and the pieces stand vertically in groups, creating a sense of tension. Yokoyama’s acrobatic creative process is both daring and bold.
Born in 1985 in Okayama Prefecture. Yokoyama graduated from the Osaka University of Arts Craft Department Glass Course in 2008 and the Kanazawa Utatsuyama Crafts Workshop in 2014. Yokoyama was a finalist for the 2018 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize (Madrid) and won the Silver Prize at the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa 2019. He exhibits at locations around the world.