HORI ICHIRŌ b. 1952
Shino type vertically faceted, flattened vessel
A self-described mountain man who lives in semi-seclusion, HORI Ichirō (b. 1952) resides at his kiln compound isolated from modern life. His exceptionally powerful works in a range of Mino styles*, however, are by no means stuck in the past. From thick, crawling Shino glazes on swirling vessels to outstanding ki-seto works in restrained yellows, he brings an exciting modern perspective to a venerable tradition.
Born into a ceramic-making family in Gifu, Hori Ichirō studied as a young man under Living National Treasure, Katō Kōzō (b. 1935). In 1984, he built his own anagama (tunnel) kiln in the mountains of Mizunami City, where he continues to experiment with traditional materials and techniques, producing pieces of great complexity and variety. In 1997, he moved his workshop to Ōkusa and established a new compound with both climbing and tunnel kilns. Known primarily in Japan for his dynamic wood-fired vessels and white and gray Shino and Seto teabowls, Hori’s distinctive forms result from long periods of contemplation. He fires his kilns just twice a year, using long, low-heat firings to allow the clay’s deep-reddish tone to emerge through the thick, creamy glazes. Aside from Shino and Seto ware, Hori excels at black Seto glazing and the difficult ash-glazed ki-seto ware, in which a pale yellow color is applied to a roughly textured surface. Using all the traditional styles of Mino as his foundation, Hori’s inner tension and strength emerges in clear, robust forms.
Hori Ichirō’s works have been featured in museum exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI; and Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, Germany, among others. He is collected by several major museums in the United States, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Seattle Art Museum, WA; San Antonio Museum of Art, TX; Crocker Museum of Art, CA; and Cincinnati Art Museum, OH.
“Sometimes I think myself a coward, living like a hermit in a mountain village. Other than firing works twice a year, I remain lost in thought. This is not because I am overly preoccupied with designing each piece but rather, because I need extra time to reflect in order to allow each piece to emerge naturally. Nature is my reality.”
“My inner feelings are expressed honestly and frankly as I shape and fire my works. I prefer genuine, natural sentiments that are not flamboyant ”