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Asia Week New York March 2023

Sueharu Fukami

March 16-24, 2023
Born in 1947 to a Kyoto family that manufactured porcelain tableware, Sueharu Fukami was exposed an early age to a variety of ceramic styles and working methods, experimenting widely before he developed a unique practice that has earned him a global reputation both for technical mastery and for single-minded pursuit of perfection in form and finish.

Fukami sometimes uses a potter's wheel, but the majority of his soaring, graceful abstract sculptures are created by forcing liquid porcelain clay under high pressure into large plaster molds which he uses to produce editions typically limited to eight casts, no two of them exactly alike. Once a cast is dry enough to be removed from its molds, Fukami scrapes and polishes it into its final shape before firing it in an electric kiln whose reducing (oxygen-starved) atmosphere enables him to coat his sculptures in seihakuji, a luminous bluish-white glaze originating in eleventh-century China. Every aspect of his work is meticulously planned in advance, especially the dynamic interaction of color and form through variations in glaze depth that produce subtle modulations in the seihakuji palette.

Fukami's artistic achievements have been recognized by a wide range of honors including the Grand Prize at the International Ceramic Exhibition at Faenza, Italy and two Gold Medals from the Japan Ceramics Society. His work is in private collections and museums all over the world including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and many other American institutions.

Thomsen Gallery has enjoyed a close relationship with Sueharu Fukami for three decades, mounting successful solo exhibitions in 2008, 2014 and 2018. He continues to dazzle us with his perfectionism, his commitment to technical innovation, and his sophisticated, even aristocratic, artistic persona. His mature abstract style embodies a contemporary global vision, at the same reflecting a traditional Japanese disregard for the time and effort required to produce works of such uncompromising beauty.