Exhibitions and Events

This exhibition is the latest in Kei Tanimoto's solo shows presenting his "Since ancient times" series of works. It is the second such exhibition to be held at the LIXIL Gallery since 2015. Tanimoto has been working on this series since 2013. The 2015 exhibition newly introduced aspects of two-dimensional art to ceramic objects "Inspired by images of dōtaku (ritual bronze bells), unearthed in a decayed state from ancient ruins," and fired to express fresh interpretations of the three most distinctive features of old Iga ware, which are hiiro ("flame color," a description of the reddish hue of the body), koge (scorch marks), and bīdoro glaze (a type of natural wood ash glaze formed by firing, named from vidro, the Portuguese word for glass). The present exhibition takes the two-dimensional approach further by adopting the form of flat ceramic panels.
This does not mean that Tanimoto is done and dusted with his dōtaku-inspired works, which continue to evolve and expand in variation. Examples were on view in his Since ancient times exhibition held at Art Space Iga in July 2019, which suggested liberation from old Iga ware in their abstract, overall application of large and small circular motifs over the dōtaku-inspired forms.
The direction the series has taken reminds me of the artist's background: After finishing high school, Tanimoto studied ceramics under Mino master and fellow Iga-native Sakuzo Hineno and his pupil Shinobu Kato, before revisiting his interest in pictorial art by studying copperplate engraving in 1973 at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 printmaking studio in Paris, through the recommendation of Gutai artist Takesada Matsutani, then based in Paris. Moreover, Tanimoto's father, Kosei (Mitsuo) Tanimoto, was a Japanese pioneer of abstract ceramic panel art. Ceramics and copperplate engraving, which have been the two major but separate artistic concerns of the artist, can be seen starting to meld together in the current ceramic panel series, which demonstrates a remarkably broadened range of expressions in the rich variety of works--some give artistic voice to the cracks or fissures in the clay; some bear striped patterns; and some are decorated with colorful dot motifs.
This exhibition centers on works that give expression to the cracks formed in the clay. The "Since ancient times" series draws on aspects of Jōmon and Yayoi pottery, but is free from the ideas of utility and roles as vessels, which Japanese ceramics in the past tended to be encumbered by. By no means do practicality or usefulness as a vessel determine the artistic value of a ceramic work. Powerfully present in the work of Kei Tanimoto is what could be described as an ancient sense of reverence toward the intrinsic qualities of clay, unchanged since Jōmon people saw the divine in clay, and humbled themselves before the blessings of water. The ceramic panels in the present show impress me strongly with the essential power of earth.

MORI Koichi, Art Critic; Executive Director, Japan Ceramic Society

Date 3 September - 12 November , 2019
Open Hours 10:00-18:00
Closed Wednesdays
Admission Free
Planned and organized by LIXIL Corporation


1948 Born as the first son of ceramicist Kosei Tanimoto in Iga City, Mie Prefecture
1970 Trained himself under the guidance of Sakuzo Hineno and Shinobui Kato in Mino
1972 Engaged in creating ceramic works at Mita Pottery in Iga
1973 Studied copperplate printing at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris
1976 Ceramic art exhibition (Paris, France)
1977 Performed a demonstration with ceramic artworks at the Guimet Museum (Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet), France,
and inherited Mita Pottery after returning home. Since then, his works have been displayed at solo exhibitions around Japan.
1978 Solo Exhibition (Ikebukuro Mitsukoshi / Tokyo); Iga-Shigaraki Duo Exhibition (Shinjuku Odakyu / Tokyo)
1980 Iga-Shigaraki New Works Exhibition (Matsuzakaya / Shizuoka); Kei Tanimoto Tea Ceramics Exhibition (Masudaya / Tokyo)
Kosei & Kei Tanimoto Tea Ceramics Exhibition (Daimaru / Kochi; also in 1981 Tamaya / Fukuoka)
1982 Iga-Shigaraki Duo Exhibition (Akasaka Green Gallery / Tokyo); Solo Exhibition (Mitsukoshi / Niigata)
1984 Kosei, Kei & Yoh Tanimoto Trio Exhibition (Daimaru / Fukuoka); Solo Exhibition (Ikebukuro Mitsukoshi / Tokyo)
1986 Parent-Child Exhibition (Iwataya / Kumamoto); Exhibition of Tea & Flower Vessels from Mie (Mie Prefectural Museum / Tsu, Mie)
Solo Exhibition (Nomura Art Museum / Kyoto)
1987 Parent-Child Exhibition (Daimaru / Fukuoka)
1988 Exhibition of 100 Ceramic Works (Takashimaya / Osaka and Tokyo)
1989 Doki Kaki Exhibition (Masuda Studio / Tokyo)
1990 Tea ceremony at Meiji Mura (Inuyama, Aichi)
1991 Iga-Shigaraki Exhibition (Kosetsu Museum of Art / Hyogo)
Solo Exhibition (Matsusazaya / Yokohama, Kanagawa)
1994 Exhibition of the Iga Ceramic Art Association (Mie Prefectural Art Museum / Tsu, Mie)
Exhibition of Ceramic Artists in Mie (Kintetsu Department Store / Yokkaichi, Mie; also in 1996)
1996 Exhibition: Encounter between the Art of Tea Ceremonies and Wild Flowers (Tamaya / Saga)
1997 Exhibition of Artists in Mie (Mie Center for the Arts / Tsu, Mie)
1999 Solo Exhibitions (Kintetsu Department Store / Nabari, Mie; Takashimaya / Kyoto; also in 2004)
2000 Appeared in Yakimono Tambo (“Exploring Ceramic Works”), an NHK TV program
2001 Solo Exhibition (Kokura Tamaya / Kitakyushu, Fukuoka)
2002 Solo Exhibition: Pots and Flowers (Meitetsu Department Store / Nagoya, Aichi)
2003 Participated in the Exhibition of Craft Artists from the Taisho, Showa, and Heisei Eras (Mie Prefectural Cultural Center [present-day Mie Center for the Arts] / Tsu, Mie)
Solo Exhibition (Wako / Ginza, Tokyo)
2004 Exhibition of Contemporary Iga-Shigaraki Ceramic Works (Daimaru / Osaka)
2005 Exhibition of Ceramic Works from Tokai (Nagoya, Aichi)
2007 Solo Exhibition (Daimaru / Osaka; also in 2008 / Tokyo)
2011 Solo Exhibition (Frankfurt, Germany; also in 2013)
2014 Solo Exhibition: Since ancient times – Kei Tanimoto (Sokyo Gallery / Kyoto)
2015 Solo Exhibition: Kei Tanimoto – Since ancient times (LIXIL Gallery / Tokyo)
2019 Kei Tanimoto Exhibition: Since ancient times (ART SPACE IGA / Mie)
  • September,2019
  • September,2019
  • September,2019
  • September,2019
    photo: Hidekazu Oginuma
  • September,2019
    photo: Hidekazu Oginuma
  • September,2019
    photo: Hidekazu Oginuma