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Tribute to Koie Ryōji (1938-2020)

Portrait by Tokio Itō

Portrait by Tokio Itō

Vessel with oribe green glaze, 2004

Vessel with oribe green glaze

2004

Stoneware wtih oribe glaze

Inv# 4985

Small black and white vase with carved abstract patterning and thick mouth, ca. 1998

Small black and white vase with carved abstract patterning and thick mouth

ca. 1998

Stoneware

5 1/8 x 4 1/2inches

13 x 11.4 cm

Inv# 7634

Hotel River Retreat Garaku, Koie Ryōji Suite, "Green"

Hotel River Retreat Garaku, Koie Ryōji Suite, "Green"

Hotel River Retreat Garaku, Koie Ryōji Suite

Hotel River Retreat Garaku, Koie Ryōji Suite

Born in 1938 in Tokoname, one of the oldest ceramic centers in Japan, Koie-sensei studied ceramics locally but almost immediately developed his iconoclastic style. Rather than labor to preserve tradition, as a young man, he looked to movements in postwar contemporary art such as the abstract expressionist paintings of Jackson Pollock and the found-object ethos of Mono-ha to constantly challenge received notions of clay art. The gestural application of glazes on his ceramics created dynamic surfaces that reflected this innovative approach. Adept in media other than clay, his happenings and performances explored political themes that were often controversial. His works have entered the permanent collection of prominent museums on five continents.

Forever curious, itinerant, and interdisciplinary in his interests and pursuits, Koie Ryōji's provocative artworks represented a bold new spirit in Japanese clay art, and his loud, bright personality will be greatly missed.