- Born 1938 in Aichi, Japan; lived and worked in Aichi and Gifu, Japan; died in 2020 in Aichi, Japan.
Born in Tokoname City, Koie Ryoji first encountered clay while working part-time at a clay pipe factory. After graduating from the ceramics department of Tokoname High School, he studied ceramics while working in the tile manufacturing industry, and in 1966 he left the Tokoname Municipal Ceramics Research Institute to become an independent potter.
At first Koie studied traditional ceramic techniques, but in the 1960s he was so strongly influenced by Yagi Kazuo, a pioneer of avant-garde ceramics, that he would commute all the way to Kyoto just to study with him. In 1970, he worked with Inaba Minoru, Sugie Junpei, Yoshikawa Masamichi, Shibata Masaaki, and other artists from Tokoname to create ceramic benches to be exhibited at Expo ’70 in Osaka. He continued to work from Tokoname with an eye on the world, also participating in the avant-garde ceramic activities of the Tokoname Zokei Group made up of these artists, for example. Koie did not limit himself to the conventional framework of “ceramic art.” Rather, he continued his pursuit of life, moving back and forth between the realms of contemporary art and ceramics, using the fundamental materials of fire and earth in his works.
The works on display at the INAX MUSEUMS, which contains a kiln of its own, include a group of Koieʼs masterpieces that continuously reconsidered what it means to fire clay with flames while maintaining a strong social message at their core, such as Testimonies - Sewing Machine (1973) and Chernobyl Series (1989–90), both of which demonstrate an anti-nuclear stance. Koie has shown his work at numerous exhibitions, including Contemporary Ceramics I: What is now possible with clay and fire, Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum (1982) and Contemporary Ceramics 1950–1990, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (1993), and is highly regarded both in Japan and abroad for how he transcends the boundaries between ceramic art and contemporary art.
- Selected Works & Awards
- Contemporary Ceramics 1950-1990, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan
- Modern Ceramic Art I: The Potential of Fire and Clay, Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum, Japan
*Last admission 15 min before closing time
- Venue / Access
- INAX Museums
- 1 minute on foot from Tokoname Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line / Tokoname Line. 10 minutes by Chita Bus from Tokoname Station bus stop. 2 minutes on foot from INAX Live Museum bus stop.
- 1 minute on foot from Tokoname Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line / Tokoname Line. 30 minutes by Loop-Line Bus from Tokoname Station bus stop. 1 minute on foot from INAX Museums bus stop.