Yuji Ueda, Installation view, Blum & Poe, Tokyo, 2023, Photo: SAIKI

Yuji Ueda

Yuji Ueda

March 16 – May 4, 2024
Los Angeles

Thirty Years:
Written with a Splash of Blood

January 20 – March 10, 2024
Tokyo

Thirty Years:
Written with a Splash of Blood

January 13 – March 3, 2024
Los Angeles

Yuji Ueda

March 25 – April 28, 2023
Tokyo

Otani Workshop, Yuji Ueda, Kazunori Hamana

Curated by Takashi Murakami
September 11 – October 24, 2015
Los Angeles

Otani Workshop, Yuji Ueda, Kazunori Hamana

Curated by Takashi Murakami
March 3 – April 9, 2016
New York

Biography

Frozen in the very midst of their own formation, Yuji Ueda's (b. 1975, Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, Japan) ceramic vessels capture a vibrant kinetic energy—finished in electrifying colors and posed as though they might rupture. Sandy layers of ceramic flake and curl to reveal entirely different clay bodies emanating from their crevices, as if these works were the physical embodiment of the process of ceramic-making itself. Large peeling vessels, molting orbs, and dripping ceramic-bronzes come together to create a futuristic object landscape.

The artist’s glazes flow off the vessels, cascading out toward the viewer or wilting toward the ground. To achieve this explosive effect, Ueda prepares layer-upon-layer of clay and different glazes, as though building the tiers of a cake. Ueda’s clay for these forms is sourced from his native Shigaraki or its neighbor Iga. The soil from these areas, one of the oldest pottery-producing regions in Japan, typically contains feldspar: an abundant rock-forming mineral that melts and swells during the firing process. Ueda will also add feldspar to natural clay or glazing to create his desired effect.

Ueda’s round and off-kilter ceramic vessels are made through a casting process that utilizes a plaster mold. This method, which produces these recurrent warped-orb shapes, innovates on the slightly askew configurations of traditional Shigaraki wares, which were celebrated for their beautiful imperfections. Since the late 1300s, Shigaraki pottery has been popular for use during tea ceremonies among tea masters and cultural tastemakers. These globular vessels are comprised of three different kinds of clay, causing them to molt and crack, ultimately hyperbolizing the visual language of poetic flaws found in the history of Shigaraki ceramics.

Ueda’s forms are seemingly expressive, but retain technical and historical significance. The unique abstractions that the artist constructs from clay build upon the rich history of Shigaraki vessels and take this tradition to its natural conclusion with their experimental forms and explosive and dynamic glazes. These works give off the illusion of bubbling outwards or collapsing inwards, emphasizing the beauty in that which is flawed.

Yuji Ueda comes from a family of award-winning tea farmers in the Shiga Prefecture town of Shigaraki. His work was presented in a solo exhibition at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2023, and in a two-part group exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami at Blum & Poe Los Angeles and New York in 2015. 

Selected Works

News

Artillery | Publisher’s Eye: Yuji Ueda

03/27/2024

Art Basel | The Enduring Allure of Japan’s Traditional Crafts

01/15/2024

Ocula: Yuji Ueda’s Blistering Ceramics at Blum & Poe

04/12/2023

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