Yagi Kazuo was born the eldest son of the ceramic artist Yagi Isso in Kyoto in 1918. He entered the sculpture course at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in 1931 and after graduation studied at the Kyoto Municipal Laboratory for Ceramics. With Nakajima Kiyoshi, Yagi formed a group, Seinen Sakutoka Shudan (young ceramic artists group) in 1946, aiming at creating new ceramics but it was dissolved two years later. Then he founded Sodeisha with Suzuki Osamu, Yamada Hikaru and others. Yagi, at first, created works, applying new designs inspired by Klee and Miro onto functional vessels but he was also impressed by terracottas by Isamu Noguchi who was visiting Japan then and ceramic works by Picasso and began to aim at creating avant-garde Ceramics.
After creating The Walk of Mr. Samsa in 1954, discarding the form of a vessel while using a potter's wheel, he developed new works, which destroyed the conventional concept of ceramics. These new works with clay were called "Object Ware" after a trend, which called avant-garde flower arrangement an object. Thereafter, his works achieved still greater progress with powerful objects of unglazed stoneware, avoiding chance results during firing, and black ware, which enabled him to achieve an inorganic expression similar to sculpture. Since the latter half of the 1960s he created many works full of wit. Yagi created works in bronze and glass for a time and in the 1970s he developed his unique world with his conceptual works with the concrete images of books, hands and feet in black ware. Then his black ware turned to geometric forms and he used lead or color on the black texture, formulating emotions but it was ended abruptly by his sudden death in 1979. While creating these inspiring works, Yagi also created superb tea bowls and pots. He lived his entire life as a ceramic artist; he was an artist with a keen sense of beauty and intelligence, an artist of extraordinary talent. A wide range of Yagi's creation gives us an insight not only into Ceramics but also into art in general.

Back to Top

Yagi Kazuo