Murakami is not only a collector of antique and contemporary ceramics, but also the owner of Oz Zingaro – a shop specializing in contemporary ceramics, and Murakami’s promotion of ceramics has been important in bringing the ceramics onto the international art scene. In the exhibition Murakami by Murakami, this aspect of the artist's activities is presented in two exhibition spaces; one display presenting a selection of older Japanese ceramics from the artist's own private collection. The other exhibition space displays a selection of ceramics from recent times, representing artists as Atsushi Ogata, Shin Murata and Yuji Ueda, all of which have exhibited in Murakami’s gallery Kaikai Kiki Gallery.
These artists work with studio pottery and contemporary lifestyle ceramics. As an extension of the ceramics in the exhibition galleries, Astrup Fearnley Shop has now included 47 unique ceramic objects by several of these artists, such as Atsushi Ogata, Yuji Ueda and Shin Murata!
Ogata first studied ceramics at the workshops of Seto, and now operates his own pottery studio in Nara. He takes a traditional approach to ceramics, with a focus on the distinctive properties of the clay and on specific styles. Ogata uses glazes made of natural materials, and burns his pottery at high temperatures in wood-fired kilns that produce rich and lovely hues. Ogata makes pottery for everyday use, and the jar that is shown here is glazed with rough brushstrokes in the traditional hakeme technique.
Shin Murata is one of several contemporary ceramicists who Murakami has exhibited, which can be seen as an extension of the artist’s non-hierarchical relationship to various forms of art and his great interest in ceramics. Murata is based in Kyoto, where he has built his own traditional pottery kiln that he uses to explore and experiment with different kinds of clay. Murata aspires to a sense of immediacy in his works, where imperfection and a lack of decoration are promoted as an ideal – qualities that were also present in ancient Japanese ceramics.
Ueda’s pottery is roughly shaped through the underlying handicraft process, and his work is characterised by asymmetrical and unregulated shapes. Another distinguishing feature of his work is how decay is highlighted through clay and glazes that peel off in flakes, giving the pottery a dynamic form of expression. Ueda is based in Shigaraki, where he works with traditional techniques such as kohiki (layered dark and light clay) and ikomi (use of curved casting moulds).