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Kitamura Junko 北村 純子

Kitamura Junko

Photography by Fukunaga Kazuo

kitamura bio pt 1

Born 1956, Kyoto, Japan

KITAMURA JUNKO studied under two extremely influential figures in the world of Japanese ceramics: Suzuki Osamu (1926-2001), a co-founder of the avant-garde Sodeisha group, and Kondō Yutaka (1932-83), a professor at Kyoto City University of Art where Kitamura completed her MFA. Inspired by the ancient 15th-century Korean tradition of punch’ong ware with slip-inlay, Kitamura creates thickly walled, wheel-thrown ceramic vessels with intricate impressed designs, consisting of minuscule concentric dots and geometric punching. Her designs give the appearance of melding together with the adjoining configurations to make intricate patterns recalling textiles or celestial constellations when inlaid with a creamy white slip. Kitamura’s contemporary clay forms have been featured in solo and group shows across the globe and now grace numerous museum collections around this country.

"When you look up at the moon in the night sky, you can feel its existence not only in the part reflecting the light of the sun, but also in the part that melts into the darkness and cannot be seen.
It seems that the part that is invisible makes the portion we can see all the more beautiful."


kitamura bio pt 2

Like her fellow pioneering female Japanese ceramicists, Kitamura brings a fresh perspective into a field that had long excluded them. Her painterly instincts, developed as the daughter of an abstract painter, combined with the visual language of textiles and lacquer crafts that flourished in her hometown of Kyoto, inform her elegant yet otherworldly sculptures. She uses a homemade bamboo tool to incise intricate, rippling geometric patterns in white slip inlay over a dark, matte, black slip-covered body with the precision of a lacemaker. A study in contrasts, her starkly black-and-white works cut dramatic profiles that belie their fluid, curving forms.

kitamura pt 3

Kitamura's works are in preeminent collections such as:

National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, DC
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand
British Museum, London, UK 
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, Japan
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

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