"Certainly I cannot judge, but as will emerge from history, art is always preserved in the world despite natural disasters and wars, because masterpieces have a soul and a strength. It is a miracle. For me, a ship is not just a form, just as I do not see in human beings only the external aspect; I must also grasp its essence, their personality. For me it is important that there is an inside and an outside.If I have to go further, I should use religion to get more help. "Tsuji Seimei, 1983 *
Not many potters have the sensitivity to listen to the "voice of sound and furnace", which requires many years of experience and eventually leads to mastery. Tsuji Seimei had it!
Many legends surround him, the great old master of Shigaraki ceramics. Thus the son of an antiquarian is said to have "perceived secrets of old ceramics"
Tsuji Seimei began his career as a potter at the age of ten, already at thirteen at the "Tsuji Ceramic Research Institute" in Setagaya he learned as a teenager from great old masters such as Itaya Hazan, Tomimoto Kenkichi and Hamada Shoji. In 1955 he built with his wife Tsuji Kyô, one of the first multi-chamber kilns (noborigama) on a slope of the Tama hills of Tokyo.
Tsuji Seimei mainly burned Shigaraki ceramics, which he considered the purest form of Japanese ceramics. His main focus was on classical tea cups (chanoyu), which he also studied. He had rejected a certain lifestyle for years and never used a Tsuji electric oven, all his life he worked on a simple 'Te-rokuro' Japanese style hand-wheel, and with a wooden stick he always refused certain aids technicians. Doing this, he said, would have meant reducing and making the rhythm of his soul fall apart.
Based in western Tokyo for most of his life, ceramic artist Seimei Tsuji (1927-2008) trained under Kenkichi Tomimoto, Hazan Itaya and other giants of modern Japanese pottery, eventually specialising in the art of yakishime (high-fired, unglazed stoneware). It was in this field that Tsuji left a lasting contribution, constructing his very own aesthetic - one distinguished by asymmetric forms and earthy colours. Known as akaru sabi, it is the focus of this extensive retrospective, which consists of around 150 of Tsuji's finest works, including calligraphy and items from his private collection. Looking back at the wide-ranging creative influences of an avant-garde master, it also incorporates pieces from ancient Peru and works produced by Western-style painter Takeo Yamaguchi, American ceramic sculptor Peter Voulkos and artists at Tsuji's studio.