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Takeshi Igawa

Takeshi Igawa

Born: 1980

Hometown: Saga City

Based in: Saga City


Igawa Takeshi, who lives and works in Saga City and is Associate Professor at Saga University in Kyushu, uses the most traditional of Japanese craft materials, but is one of the most closely watched young artist in the field of contemporary lacquer art because of his daring and expressive sculptures.

Known as urushi in Japanese, lacquer is the sap of a tree related to the sumac family, and has been used in Japan as an adhesive and a coating (including decoration) for more than 9000 years.

Among the distinctive features of lacquer are the gloss and depth of the surface and the pleasing tactile experience, which Igawa features in his sculptures.

“I don’t intend to create meaningful forms which conveys my messages. I always think about expressing the beauty of the lacquer as a material. Unlike other materials used for three dimensional art objects, like ceramic, stone, wood, metal, lacquer cannot produce a solid form because it is only liquid. However, lacquer is a unique coating or painting material, and when applied to different forms it produces distinctively different appearances. For example, there are dramatic differences between concave and convex surfaces when compared to flat surfaces. Reflections and the play of light and shadow on the surfaces are always changing the appearance of a piece. To create the most beautiful and pleasing forms, the lines are critical. The edges are the first decisions I must make when I begin carving the urethane form, but at the same time, I need to imagine the curve of all the lines of a form when it is completed. If the lines and the surfaces harmonize perfectly, I feel that I have fully expressed the beauty of the lacquer as a material.” Igawa Takeshi

2017 Finalist of the LOEWE Craft Prize 2017
2016 Grand Prize , 3rd Triennnale of Kogei in Kanazawa
2014 41st, Saga Arts and Culture Award, Saga
2012 Grand Prize, 52th Craft Exhibition, Tokyo
2011 Silver Prize, Cheongju International Craft Biennale, Korea
2009 Grand Prize, Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition, Ishikawa
2008 Excellent Award, Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition
2007 Grand Prize For Elegance, Elegant Shapes: Works Of Urushi In Our Daily Life, The Miyako Messe, Kyoto
2006 Talente—Prize For Design, Talente 2006, The International Trades Fair, Munich, Germany
2005 Mayor’s Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto
Award For Excellence, The 45th Japan Crafts Exhibition, Tokyo
2003 Mayor’s Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto
2002 Hiradate Prize, Annual Exhibition Of Kyoto City University Of Arts, The Kyoto Municipal Museum Of Art, Kyoto

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kyoto
JAL International Terminal Lounge, Haneda Airport, Tokyo



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