Yoko Yoichi Yajima 矢嶋 ヨーコ 洋一


Ceramist


Born in Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, Yoko Yoichi Yajima 矢嶋 ヨーコ 洋一 is a Japanese ceramist, worked as a computing engineer for 25 years, he attended Aichi Prefectural Seto Pottery Senior School upon discovering his alter-ego: Yoko. After graduation in 2005, Yajima continuously participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Japan and Taiwan throughout the years, including Art Kyoto 2012.

A drastic change in career many would consider, Yajima is an extremely quiet person who wilfully shies away from the limelight, “I’m not very good with words so my works will instead have to do the talking,” he explains, “I committed to pottery at my 40s because I enjoyed playing with clay since young, when I realised my other identity, the craft naturally became the right expression for my inner-self.” Yajima looks to reinterpret the Mino 美濃 heritage which dates back 1300 years, a distinctive sense of rawness radiates from his works, celebrating the innate quality of the material.

In the series Yajima created exclusively for the Touch・Smell・Taste presentation, he applied bold and vibrant coloured yuyaku 釉薬 glaze to the pottery which is contrastively unique from the traditional Oribe-yaki 織部焼 originated from the Mino area. Now lives and works in Toki City 土岐市, Gifu Prefecture 岐阜県 in Japan, Yajima also crafts fashion accessories and other sculptural objects like high-heeled-shaped vase in his atelier.

山梨県出身。日本の陶芸家。25年間コンピュータ・エンジニアとして働いた後、自身の分身=ヨーコと出逢い、愛知県立 瀬戸陶業高等学校に入学。2005年同校卒業後は、アート京都2012をはじめ、日本や台湾でのグループ展や個展に継続的に参加。

多くの人が驚くようなキャリアチェンジを経て陶芸家となるが、脚光を浴びることを好まない非常に寡黙な人物。「私は言葉を使うのが苦手なので、作品が私の代わりに語ってくれないと困る」「40代になって陶芸を始めたのは、小さい頃から粘土で遊ぶのが好きだったから。ヨーコに出逢ってからは、創作活動が自分の内面を表現することに自然と繋がっていった。」と語る矢島は、1300年前から続く美濃の伝統を再解釈しようとしており、その作品からは独特の生々しさが放出され、素材の持つ本来の力を表現している。

「Touch・Smell・Taste」展のために制作したシリーズでは、美濃地方に伝わる伝統的な織部焼とは対照的に、色鮮やかで大胆に発色する釉薬を使用。現在は岐阜県 土岐市で活動しており、自身のアトリエでファッション・アクセサリーや、ハイヒール型花器などの彫刻作品を制作している。

“Looking back it wasn’t easy, I felt like something had been accumulating up to the point when I started pottery, when I was creating it was almost as if the soil was confronting me and I had to respond with everything I had left at that time.”

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