Kentaro Kawabata: 凸凹 Bumpy

November 19, 2021 - January 29, 2022



Artillery, January 20, 2022

Larchmont Buzz



Nonaka-Hill is pleased to present 凸凹 Bumpy, our second solo exhibition of Japanese porcelain artist Kentaro Kawabata.


Working in porcelain sculpture, Kentaro Kawabata creates forms ranging from grand scale to diminutive, sometimes graceful and exquisite, other times earthy and clumpy. He shows a side of porcelain that we rarely see, the rips, the tears and the cracks while at the same time, he gives what we might be looking for in this medium, details fine and delicate, attenuated curlicues and the tiniest little beads at placed at regular intervals; evidence of extreme artistic focus. On many works, the soft porcelain is crimped between thumb and forefinger, resulting in crenelated details while other details are achieved with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands working the porcelain in simultaneous, symmetrical motions. The artist achieves much of his color using pulverized or chipped stained glass which melts in the heat of the kiln and cascades in washes of brilliant color over the white porcelain. In Soos works, Kawabata accumulates discarded chunks of porcelain which, after the kiln, are coated with silver and dipped in the hot sulphurated waters of an onsen bath. The resulting matte iridescent finish is rich in color and fascinating in its alchemy. In many works, Kawabata paints his porcelain with silver which oxidizes over time to a browned color, resembling dry animal or human bones. The artist studs some works with metal slag which appear like peppercorns, gilds some details in platinum and hides delights in every crevice. His skill and his whimsy culminate in abstract sculptural works which are distinctly anthropomorphic of flora or fauna.  The exhibition is on view through January 29, 2022.


Kentaro Kawabata
Born 1976 in Saitama, Japan Lives and works in Gifu, Japan After graduating from the Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center in 2000, Kawabata began winning awards for his work, including the Kamoda Shoji Award at the Mashiko Pottery Exhibition (2004) and the Paramita Museum Ceramic Award (2007). His work has been the subject of numerous solo and grounp exhibitions at highly-reputed ceramic institutions, including the National Museum of Modern Art’s Crafts Gallery (“The Power of Decoration: A Viewpoint on Contemporary Kôgei (Studio Crafts)”, 2009), the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum (“Phenomenon of Contemporary Ceramic”, 2014), and the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu (2004, 2010). 1998 Diploma, Tokyo Designer Institute, Ceramic Department, Tokyo 2000 B.F.A., Tajimi city Pottery Design and Technical Center Gifu, Japan

Installation Views