*1948 in Ueno-shi (Iga), Japan

Tanimoto Kei

Entering the dimension of “beauty in ceramics.”

Ceramicist and graphic artist Tanimoto Kei (born in 1948) is the eldest son of Tanimoto Kôsei (born in 1915), one of the eminent masters of postwar Japanese Iga ceramics. In his twenties Tanimoto Kei spent a few years in Paris, where amongst other things he learnt and practiced the art of etching. In 1977 he returned to Japan aged 29 to work as a ceramicist.

According to the Western view, the most desirable quality for artistic work to have lies in its being an expression of individuality. In Japan on the other hand, randomness is regarded to be one of most important elements in the creation of art and design objects. In his efforts to advance the modern genre of Iga ceramics, Tanimoto Kei allowed himself to be led by both of these notions. He never stopped experimenting. Is this not a fitting summary of his 25-year-long career as a ceramicist? During my research in Iga, I [the author of this article] found this assessment confirmed time and again.

It is only when clay, firing and form find a harmonious balance that the essence of “beauty in ceramics” may be attained. Postwar Japanese ceramics can be understood as an ongoing field of experimentation, with its successes and failures, that had but one goal: to attain this “essence.” And Tanimoto Kei is among the few ceramic artists who managed to achieve this goal in his craft.

Tanimoto Kei himself is too reserved to pass any kind of judgement on his work. But through the atmosphere in his workshop I was able to see how far he has come on his path. Following on from his father Kôsei, the Mita-gama, Tanimoto Kei’s workshop, is set to play a central role in contemporary Iga ceramics for some time to come.

Sasayama Ei, art critic
(In the magazine Taiki, 2005)

Available works (More works available on request)

Works on paper

Sep 11 Tanimoto Kei

Detailed Biography  
© Japan Art - Galerie Friedrich Mueller Feedback Newsletter Blog Imprint Terms & Conditions
 inquiries  0  de/en