"From Sword to Kiln: The Transformation of a Kyoto Family", A Lecture by Ceramic Artist Takahiro Kondō

Sponsored by the Donald Keene Center

612 Schermerhorn Hall
Thursday, November 11, 2010
6:30-8 p.m.

The renowned contemporary potter Takahiro Kondō will recount the transformation of his family from hereditary samurai of the Edo period to acclaimed potters in the modern age. In addition, Kondō will speak about his own work, which is noted for its innovative techniques and bold geometrical designs, as well as the artistic legacy of his grandfather, Yūzō Kondō, a Living National Treasure who specialized in traditional cobalt blue-underglazed wares.

About the Artist

Despite growing up in the shadow of the kiln, Takahiro Kondō did not initially turn his hand to it, focusing instead on perfecting his technique at table tennis. As a result, he started his formal training in ceramics in his twenties, unusually late for Japan, after having completed a degree in literature from Hosei University. He has progressed through an initial period of making blue and white porcelain (sometsuke) in the tradition of his family, before branching out into a very different use of porcelain, mainly slab-built rather than thrown. Later he came to incorporate metal and glass into his work, and continues to experiment with other media. He is best known for the precious metal overglaze "silver mist" which he has used with great success to represent different states of water. Kondo was very strongly influenced by his uncle Yutaka in deciding to turn to ceramics and art as his life's work, and like his uncle, has taken advantage of opportunities to work and live abroad, earning a Master's degree from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2003, and also exhibiting and traveling abroad regularly. His work is represented in many public and private collections in Japan, the US, the UK, and Australia.