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Ken Matsuzaki Ceramics Exhibition 2021


On Saturday 24th July Goldmark will open its 7th exhibition of work by Ken Matsuzaki, one of Japan’s most revered living potters. When travel to that country is impossible for most, this will be a fascinating opportunity to enjoy Japanese art first-hand and to experience Matsuzaki’s famous Tokaiseki-style vases in the flesh. Online visitors to Goldmark will also be able to experience the full beauty of the Matsuzaki’s work on and via a walkthrough film of the complete exhibition, hosted by Max Waterhouse.

Ken Matsuzaki, born in Tokyo (1950), studied at Tamagawa University’s College of Arts before taking on an apprenticeship in the famous pottery town of Mashiko, 60 miles north of the capital, where his studio is still situated to this day.

Matsuzaki was apprenticed to once Living National Treasure Tatsuzo Shimaoka, himself the pupil of Living National Treasure Shoji Hamada, arguably the most famous potter of the 20th century. Where a lesser artist might have suffocated under such influences, Matsuzaki – like his teacher before him – has since established a ceramic voice distinctly and definitively his own.

Extending far beyond the traditional boundaries of the town’s ‘Mashiko style’, Matsuzaki has embraced Japan’s rich ceramic history and expanded into its wildly different pottery schools: from emerald green Oribe work to yellow Kiseto, luscious pink and metallic gold Shino to his astonishing Yohen pots, veiled in layers of natural ash that have built up over 10-day firings in Matsuzaki’s enormous climbing kiln.

This latest exhibition will showcase 120 pots, among them 50 vases in Matsuzaki’s innovative Tokaiseki style. A technique of Matsuzaki’s own invention, these sculptural works are not thrown but hewn, carved and torn from hollowed blocks of clay on a potter’s wheel using a variety of tools – from knives and wooden scrapers to wire, fingers, thumbs and even fistfuls of clay itself. Developed over many years, these forms now represent a distillation of Matsuzaki’s enigmatic, tour-de-force approach to his medium.


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