Shiho Kanzaki's Artist Statement and Resume

by Shiho Kanzaki



Artist's Statement

"Do you want to quit? Do you want to quit being a potter?"
The voice tormented my conscience.

Although we may be satisfied with our lives both financially and materially, seeking only after material satisfaction could take away our very reason for existing. The question is this: self-affirmation or self-denial ("Do I stay true to myself or not?")? The voice forced this question.

Pottery pieces which are made to ingratiate themselves to others....pieces which are made purely for the sake of novelty....pieces which are made only to show one's technical expertise.... The world of ceramic art is overflowing with such things: it has become a world focused on quantity. This should not have happened. But it has happened because we are living according to short-sighted calculation, and living for our own self-interest. This way of living harms not only ourselves, but also others.

Our (Japanese) long fascination with Western Civilization (since the Meiji Restoration), and our struggle to become a part of it has surely brought a good deal of benefit. But in the course of the struggle (to compete with the West), we seem to have forgotten something of the greatest importance.

I grew up and was educated during the "time of confusion" following the Second World War. I graduated from college and entered society just as Japan was emerging from the aftermath of WWII, and was moving forward with rapid progress. Japan was getting wealthy both economically and materially. It was around this time that I decided to become a potter (a ceramic artist).

While others were enjoying their material blessings, my mendicant-like life began under the dim light of an oil lamp in a tin hut which I built by myself. It was a struggle to feed myself.... It was only in 1976 that electricity finally came to my workshop.

During this life of mendicancy (when I sometimes needed to depend on the alms of others), some people had left me, and others had helped me. Judging only from appearances, the latter is appreciated, while the former is not. But the truth is this: without the former, the latter does not exist; and without the latter there is not the former. (The former presupposes the latter; and the latter presupposes the former.) Bipolar opposition exists only in the phenomenal world but they are, in essence, one.

I have done a lot of writing about my encounters with many people, both in my previous book, Honoo no Koe; Tsuchi no Koe ("The Voice of Fire, The Voice of Clay" from Nihon Kyoubun Sha) and in this book*. Because of these encounters, I can create pottery...or to say it another way: "I have become what I am now. "I am greatly indebted to these people for their kindness to me. Above all, I have wonderful parents, and a wonderful wife and daughter. I was born in a pottery town called Shigaraki, and have the Karma ** of Buddha. The Karma reaches back to the past and stretches to all places -- it covers everything. How mysterious Once I realized this, my sense of pride and the sense that I had accomplished success by my own hands, literally disappeared.

Rather, now I live as a result of my encounters with many people, and by the grace of The Infinite (the infinite world). My goal is the world of the Infinite, which is the root and source of life. So, I live my life in gratitude, in total devotion to the root of life. I have no other way to live.

To make oneself live in this way is to enable others to live. And when I am living my life fully, I can create my own pieces. Everyone has his/her own task, and each has a responsibility to fulfill their task -- no one else can fulfill it. Likewise, I am given a particular task of my own: my task is to create my own pieces...pieces which cannot be made by anyone else.

The world of self-interest versus the world of the Infinite. Or to put it another way: either we live in confusion, rushing to and fro, misguided by short-sighted calculation and self-seeking, OR we become fully ourselves and openly live our lives in the freedom of our essential inner natures. I'd rather choose the latter..... At least I try.

"Do you want to quit?" Now, the voice is no longer heard.

(* This article is the Preface from my book Honoo no En; Hito no En ("Karma [Destiny] of Fire and Karma [Opportunity] of Humankind"), published by Nihon Kyoubun Sha, October 20, 1989. ISBN 4-531-06205-1. This book has been selected and recommended by the Japan Library Association, and the All-Japan School Library Association.)

(** Karma is a technical term in Buddhism, and may be seen as roughly equivalent to [God's] positive providence in Christianity.)

Resume

1942
Born in Shigaraki.

1964
Graduated from law school at Kansai University.

1964-65
Studied law.

1965
Became a potter/artist -- established a studio in Osaka, and lived in Shigaraki

1969
Moved to Osaka ( my father disowned me)

1973
Moved back to Shigaraki and built my first Anagama kiln

1973
First exhibition at Hankyu department store in Osaka

1973
First anagama firing (November), 5-day firing with apprentice: results were not so good -- all works re-fired by myself in a 5-day firing

1974
Did 8-day firing (wet wood) --learned cross hatch stoking.

1974
Exhibition at the gallery Nakamiya in Osaka

1975
Exhibition at the gallery Nakamiya in Osaka

1976
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store

1977
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo

1978
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichijyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Gallery Issuidou in Kamakura city
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store

1979
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichijyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Gallery Issuidou in Kamakura city
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store Sendai in Sendai city

1980
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture
Exhibition at Gallery Issuidou in Kamakura city
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store

1981
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture
Exhibition at Gallery Kamakura in Kamakura city
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store Sendai in Sendai city
Firing a big kiln of parallel chamber room with one fire box.

1982
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store

1983
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store Sendai in Sendai city

1984
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture
Exhibition at Gallery Kamakura in Kamakura city
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Osaka department store

1985
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Tachikawa in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo

1986
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Tachikawa in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Exhibition at Gallery Kamakura in Kamakura city

1987
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Tachikawa in Tokyo
Exhibition at Japan Art Gallery in Frankfurt, Germany
Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store headquarters in Tokyo
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo

1988
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Tachikawa in Tokyo
Exhibition at Gallery Kamakura in Kamakura city
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Niigata in Niigata prefecture
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Kichjyouji in Tokyo
Wall mural commission (1000cm x 35cm x 200cm) at Shinreikyou, Tokyo

1989
Completed five year development to make new textured works
Exhibition at Matsuya department store - Ginza - Tokyo
(120th year anniversary celebration: exhibition by invitation)

1990
Osaka Expo 90'
Exhibition at Kitakamakura museum
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Niigata in Niigata prefecture
The wall mural (1000cm x 35cm x 200cm) set up at Manjyu-zan of Shinreikyou, Tokyo. Named "Koumyou"

1991
Exhibition at Iwataya department store in Fukuoka
Exhibition at Matsuya department store - Ginza - Tokyo
Beamer comes to eat at my house!!
Bloomsburg University workshop and lecture as a resident artist

1992
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Sagamihara in Kanagawa prefecture
Exhibition at Iwataya department store in Fukuoka
Exhibition at Fred Jahn Gallery, Munich, Germany
Exhibition at Kitakamakura museum

1993
Built Kanzaki-Beamer kiln in Bloomsburg, PA, and had first firing;
Exhibition at Bloomsburg University
Exhibition at Isejin Mito department store in Ibaragi Prefecture
Exhibition at Kitakamakura museum

1994
Exhibition at Fred Jahn Gallery, Munich, Germany
Exhibition at Kamakura Geijyutu Kan, Kamakura performing artscenter; first showing of the new texture works

1995
Crafts in Shiga Prefecture Show at Modern Museum of Shiga Pref.
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi Shinjyuku department store in Tokyo

1996(BR> Exhibition at Kamakura Geijyutu Kan, Kamakura performing artscenter
Exhibition at Matsuya department store - Ginza - Tokyo

1997
Exhibition at Kamakura Geijyutu Kan, Kamakura performing artscenter
Exhibition at Yamatoyashiki department store in Hyogo prefecture

1998
Exhibition at Iwataya department store in Fukuoka
Exhibition at Shiho Kanzaki's studio, Shigaraki in Shiga Prefecture
(30th year anniversary celebration)
Exhibition at Matsuya department store - Ginza - Tokyo

1999
Exhibition at Shinreikyou Kamakura Training house with old tea room in Kamakura
Exhibition at Takashimaya Takasaki department store in Gunma prefecture
Attendance to Different Stokes, the 1999 International Woodfire Conference at Iowa University in U.S.A. as a pannelist.
Exhibition at Isetan department store, Sagamihara in Kanagawa prefecture
Exhibition at Mitsukoshi department store Takamatsu in Kagawa prefecture

2000
Exhibition at Tokiha Oita department store in Oita prefecture.
Exhibition at Saikaya Fujisawa department store in Kanagawa prefecture.
Exhibition at Iwataya department store in Fukuoka
Exhibition at Tenmaya department store in Okayama


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