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

April 12, 2023

Simon Fisher

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Yuji Ueda imbues energy and movement in his controlled but chaotic ceramic creations. 

Showing at Blum & Poe, Tokyo, until 28 April 2023, Yuji Ueda is the artist's first solo presentation with the gallery. 

Ueda plays with the infinite possibilities of his chosen medium. The artist commonly uses clay from his hometown of Shigaraki—a town based in the Shiga Prefecture, one of the oldest pottery-producing regions in Japan—that contains feldspar, a mineral that vitrifies stoneware and aids with the melting of glaze. 

The surface of his sculptures blister, crack, and peel, like some kind of reptile shedding its skin. 

In Untitled (2023), Ueda's burnt orange glaze imitates the skin of a snake, bursting out from the restraint of the ceramic's original orb form. Fractured and seemingly flawed, the artist's work finds beauty in the imperfect. 

Ueda's work can be read as a celebration of wabi-sabi (the acceptance of imperfection, impermanence, and the incomplete), and the storied history of ceramics. 

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