A frozen moment
Keiichi Tanaka⟨ May 2020 ⟩
In recent years, it has been a trend to live a minimalist way of life through decluttering. It feels as if throwing away things as much as possible has become the only path to a beautiful life. But how true is this belief? What if you have possessed many things that you genuinely love, while each of your possessions has a story that is meaningful to you, and all of these items are worth to be cherished? If this is the case, isn’t it more gratifying to share them with others? The Japanese potter Keiichi Tanaka’s ceramics can always fill people with joy and a sense of well-being. Looking at his ceramics, it feels like they have all experienced a lot; even if it is a brand new item, there is still a sense of history that can be seen in the object. The beauty of utility can be vividly seen in these everyday objects. Containers used by usual households are what Tanaka often makes. As a person who enjoys cooking, Tanaka would put into consideration how the ceramic tableware would look like when being used. He endeavors to make tableware that can demonstrate an authentic charm when being put on a table.
Authenticity is the word that Tanaka would use to describe the essence of antiques. The authenticity of these objects is exemplified by the traces of them being actually used. He is obsessed with antiques, and the types of antiques he particularly likes are musical instruments and tools hanging on the wall of an old house or a farmhouse. He sees a compelling sense of utilitarian beauty in containers in the older times. Their forms also possess an inexplicable charisma. Inspired by the antique containers, Tanaka applies metallic glaze onto his ceramics to give them a slightly shiny finishing, as well as an oxidized and used texture. Unlike metalware, pottery has a more gentle and approachable appearance. His vases do not follow the usual shape of a vase. A few pieces of Tanaka’s vases hanging on a wall can well be seen as musical notes dancing freely on sheet music. Standing alone on the table, his vase is a sculpture piece. Putting a thin tree branch or a small flower into one of his artistic vases, the room can be instantly transformed into a tranquil space.
Apart from ceramics with metallic glaze, Tanaka is also fascinated by the pure white ceramics that were popular during the fifteenth to the sixteenth century in Europe, as well as the blue glassware of ancient Egypt and Turkey. To reproduce these characteristics in his pottery, Tanaka applies white glaze to make his white tableware shine in a smooth glow, and use the turquoise glaze to give his vases an exotic note. Regardless of the differences in glaze used, his ceramics are made with a consistently clean design and used texture. Holding these objects in hands, time seems to have frozen to allow us to fully experience the serenity and joyous moment without being distracted.