・What is Bizen Pottery?
Bizen Pottery is the oldest of the "Six Old Kilns of Japan. It is an extremely simple pottery that does not use painting or glaze. In Okayama, where it is produced, there is a saying, "Bizen mortar does not break even when thrown. Bizen water bottles: water does not spoil. Bizen tokkuri, sake tastes good. Recently, it has become a topic of conversation because of its scientific basis.
・Ceramic art is pottery, and Bizen ware is hardening by firing."
Abe taught himself how to build a kiln, the foundation of pottery, through repeated trial and error. The kiln he arrived at was the completely underground cellar kiln. The firing method is also unique. After quickly raising the kiln temperature to 1,350 degrees Celsius, he waits until the fire is extinguished and then cools it down. Then the kiln is fired again. This firing process, which is repeated many times to harden the wood, requires only about 100 bundles of split pine wood (usually 1,000 bundles) and is environmentally friendly. The rich variety of colors and matiere seen on the surfaces of his works are indicative of the traditional Bizen ware kiln changes, such as sesame, sangiri, and hidasuki.
Born in Osaka in 1938, Abe lived in Saijo, Ehime Prefecture from the age of four until he graduated from high school, and in 1986 he established a kiln in Ushimado, Okayama Prefecture.
Abe has accomplished a great deal of research into the techniques of Kobizen, a simple and sturdy style of pottery, until he was able to create a new form of Kobizen in the modern age. In recent years, he has also produced a series of colorful Bizen pieces that shine like jewels, elevating Bizen ware to a contemporary art form. Abe is highly regarded as a contemporary Bizen potter along with three other Living National Treasures, Kei Fujiwara, Yu Fujiwara, and Touyou Kaneshige. However, unlike these ceramic artists, Abe began his career as a Western-style painter and sculptor, and then taught himself to build a kiln, which has brought him to where he is today. Like Rosanjin, Abe is a first-rate artist in every field.
・He has a "free-spirited mind and precise ceramics" that are usually incompatible.
Abe Anjin respects tradition and understands the origin of his work. Abe's Bizen ware has no flawless and sloppy parts, as the core of his work is formed by his understanding of the Kobizen aesthetic of the Momoyama period (400 years ago). He says, "Pottery is physics and is made up of scientific phenomena." His self-taught research has brought his pottery's molecular structure to a level not unlike that of Kobizen. His works are composed in such a way that they invite the viewer to focus on the other side of the work and invite the viewer into a mysterious thought process. He is an artist at the forefront of contemporary ceramics, firmly establishing the basic form of expressing tradition in the modern age and then developing it into modeling.