Hayashi Yasuo

Our 90 Years Young Hero
May 10, 2018
Hayashi & his wife
Hayashi & his wife

Hayashi Yasuo 林康夫 (b. 1928) embodies the maxim "clay prolongs life," as he has been a practicing ceramic artist for over six decades. Today he even drives from Kyoto to Tokyo to attend his exhibitions! Age has never deterred this significant artist, who was one of founder of Shiko-kai 四耕会(1947), a precursor of the influential Japanese avant-garde ceramics group Sodei-sha 走泥社(1948), when he was only 19 years old. The art critic KIMURA Shigenobu 木村重信(1925-2017) has identified Hayashi Yasuo's "Cloud" sculpture as the first totally non-functional ceramic work, which according to Kimura made Hayashi "the real forerunner in the field." This departure from traditional ceramic techniques freed future generations of Japanese ceramic artists.


When I visited him earlier in May, it affirmed my position that Hayashi is an unregenerate modernist.  At age of 90, his work is at peace with itself. From the Cloud, the trompe l'oeil box, like the one in the Met's collection to these latest pieces. His concern is the emotional coefficients of line, form, color and texture. Here, the form, the exterior, the interior and colors are fully resolved, not struggling.

About the author

Beatrice Lei Chang

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