Kara-Shell Vessel

Tanoue Shinya
Kara-shell vessel
H : 41 cm W : 62 cm D : 32 cm



“Kara” is a Japanese word with a double meaning: it means a shell and also emptiness. The apparent simplicity of the sculpture contains depth and intelligence. A shell is like a container for emptiness and frames emptiness. This aspect of emptiness is known as Ma in Japanese.

Tanoue Shinya is a ceramic artist born and raised in Kyoto, which translates into a rich and fresh approach to his art in a challenging Sodeisha* mode; his work is already on display at the Kyoto Museum and the Hyogo Museum of Ceramic Art, as well as in American museums (Cincinnati, Phoenix, Crocker) as part of the Horvitz Collection of contemporary Japanese ceramic art. He is a promising ceramic artist, whose talent has been recognized by awards: Mainichi Newspaper Award of Excellence; 19th Japanese Ceramic Art Exhibition Award; and an Asahi Ceramic Art Exhibition Award in 2007. Tanoue’s work was also selected for the Mashiko International Ceramic Art Exhibition in 2006, as well as the 41st Asahi Ceramic Art Exhibition in 2003 and the 7th Mino International Ceramic Exhibition. His robust thin-walled shell shapes are fired twice and he uses three kinds of clay and two modelling pastes, then meticulously adds his tiny lines that look like pine needles, which is fascinating. He adds a blue glaze – in this case, the one that has flowed – and darkens parts of the slip; his work evokes the birth of life itself. Tanoue is deeply interested in pursuing this theme, having studied theology and philosophy at Doshisha University.
Each of his pieces is simple in appearance, but has details such as lines and curves with a noticeable sinuous character, forming a kind of signature.