Direction of the Wind—Unglazed Clay Pipes (Fūi—yakishime paipu)

Yagi Kazuo Japanese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 202

Emerging from a pottery industry steeped in tradition, several young postwar Kyoto ceramists founded Sōdeisha (Crawling through Mud Association) to redefine clay as a valid medium for sculpture. They created abstract, hand-built forms called objets, borrowing the term French Surrealists used for found and repurposed art pieces. Here, Yagi cut and rejoined wheel-thrown cylinders at angles and embedded them into a square with folded edges, creating multiple “mouths” that challenge the idea of the conventional vessel. Such nonfunctional artworks were a means of deconstructing traditional methods of producing ceramics. Made of Shigaraki clay, early Sōdeisha works are quite pale as members could only afford to rent cooler spaces at the communal kiln, where strong color could not easily develop.

Direction of the Wind—Unglazed Clay Pipes (Fūi—yakishime paipu), Yagi Kazuo (Japanese, 1918–1979), Unglazed Shigaraki white clay, Japan

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