The title of the new exhibition at Musée Guimet is strange, “Touch Fire, Women ceramists in Japan”, but the result is wonderful and even if I don’t agree on today’s constant attitude of singularizing women artists over men, the story behind the show is interesting. It is putting forward three generations of women ceramists, who were at last allowed to use fire for their porcelain or sandstone sculptures in 1946. Until then only men were ceramists in Japan. The Arts university of Kyoto opened to women just after the war, then Tokyo followed in 1952. MNAAG has been steadily acquiring their works since 1995. Two of these artists live in France, Katsumata Chieko and Futamura Yoshimi. Hosono Hitomi whose Zenmai (fern) scupture is one of the most elaborate, lives in London.
They have studied in Copenhagen or in London, are considered as Living treasure like Ono Hakuko, are inspired by the celadon of the past like Miura Koheiji, or use pure white porcelain like Fukumoto Fuku. One thing is certain,, they all are incredibly talented and the great advantage of discovering them at Musée Guimet (as opposed to a contemporary gallery) is that you can visit the rest of the collection afterwards.
Ogawa Machiko has a piece in sandstone but she started with plates. She is presenting here “Cristals and remembrances” which looks like an archeological vestige. Koike Shoko shows “Shell Vessel” an extraordinary sculpture with a translucide blue stain which reminds us of a shell.
The exhibition is on at MNaag until October 3.
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