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Kei Tanimoto


Kei Tanimoto is a senior figure of significant renown in Japan. His work is held in the most prestigious collections across the country as well as internationally and has exhibited in the best galleries in Tokyo and Kyoto. Tanimoto san has an innate confidence born of his 50 years plus of working with the local materials of Iga, part of a family legacy that exposed him to tradition as a child in his father's studio and transferred, in turn, to his son, Takashi. Iga ceramics are in a small family of ancient and legendary traditions in Japan.

As a non glazed tradition, the local clays are obsessively considered and worked by the makers. Tanimoto san hand-forms much of his work with carvings and forming done to echo ancient norms with his own style. The clay bodies from Iga lend themselves well to multiple firings and are always with wood. The kilns are fired to over 1400 degrees celsius which allows the natural formation of ash deposits to form the delicate jade green 'biidoro' beauty that all Tanimoto san's work seem to effortlessly posses. Laying lightly on the surface of his works against the raw contrast of light clay patches and dark black Koge, these vessels are a metaphor for light and dark, struggle and joy, life itself.

1948 Born as the first son of ceramicist Kosei Tanimoto in Iga City, Mie Prefecture
1970 Trained himself under the guidance of Sakuzo Hineno and Shinobui Kato in Mino
1972 Engaged in creating ceramic works at Mita Pottery in Iga
1973 Studied copperplate printing at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 in Paris
1976 Ceramic art exhibition (Paris, France)
1977 Performed a demonstration with ceramic artworks at the Guimet Museum (Musee national des arts asiatiques Guimet), France,
Inherited Mita Pottery after returning home to Japan. Since then, his works have been displayed at solo exhibitions around Japan.
1978 Solo Exhibition (Ikebukuro Mitsukoshi / Tokyo); Iga-Shigaraki Duo Exhibition (Shinjuku Odakyu / Tokyo)
1980 Iga-Shigaraki New Works Exhibition (Matsuzakaya / Shizuoka); Kei Tanimoto Tea Ceramics Exhibition (Masudaya / Tokyo)
Kosei & Kei Tanimoto Tea Ceramics Exhibition (Daimaru / Kochi; also in 1981 Tamaya / Fukuoka)
1982 Iga-Shigaraki Duo Exhibition (Akasaka Green Gallery / Tokyo); Solo Exhibition (Mitsukoshi / Niigata)
1984 Kosei, Kei & Yoh Tanimoto Trio Exhibition (Daimaru / Fukuoka); Solo Exhibition (Ikebukuro Mitsukoshi / Tokyo)
1986 Parent-Child Exhibition (Iwataya / Kumamoto); Exhibition of Tea & Flower Vessels from Mie (Mie Prefectural Museum / Tsu, Mie)
Solo Exhibition (Nomura Art Museum / Kyoto)
1987 Parent-Child Exhibition (Daimaru / Fukuoka)
1988 Exhibition of 100 Ceramic Works (Takashimaya / Osaka and Tokyo)
1989 Doki Kaki Exhibition (Masuda Studio / Tokyo)
1990 Tea ceremony at Meiji Mura (Inuyama, Aichi)
1991 Iga-Shigaraki Exhibition (Kosetsu Museum of Art / Hyogo)
Solo Exhibition (Matsusazaya / Yokohama, Kanagawa)
1994 Exhibition of the Iga Ceramic Art Association (Mie Prefectural Art Museum / Tsu, Mie)
Exhibition of Ceramic Artists in Mie (Kintetsu Department Store / Yokkaichi, Mie; also in 1996)
1996 Exhibition: Encounter between the Art of Tea Ceremonies and Wild Flowers (Tamaya / Saga)
1997 Exhibition of Artists in Mie (Mie Center for the Arts / Tsu, Mie)
1999 Solo Exhibitions (Kintetsu Department Store / Nabari, Mie; Takashimaya / Kyoto; also in 2004)
2000 Appeared in Yakimono Tambo (?Exploring Ceramic Works?), an NHK TV program
2001 Solo Exhibition (Kokura Tamaya / Kitakyushu, Fukuoka)
2002 Solo Exhibition: Pots and Flowers (Meitetsu Department Store / Nagoya, Aichi)
2003 Participated in the Exhibition of Craft Artists from the Taisho, Showa, and Heisei Eras (Mie Prefectural Cultural Center)
Solo Exhibition (Wako / Ginza, Tokyo)
2004 Exhibition of Contemporary Iga-Shigaraki Ceramic Works (Daimaru / Osaka)
2005 Exhibition of Ceramic Works from Tokai (Nagoya, Aichi)
2007 Solo Exhibition (Daimaru / Osaka; also in 2008 / Tokyo)
2011 Solo Exhibition (Frankfurt, Germany; also in 2013)
2014 Solo Exhibition: Since ancient times ? Kei Tanimoto (Sokyo Gallery / Kyoto)
2015 Solo Exhibition: Kei Tanimoto ? Since ancient times (LIXIL Gallery / Tokyo)
2021 Kei Tanimoto Exhibition: Since ancient times (ART SPACE IGA / Mie)
Kei Tanimoto exhibiting with his son Takashi Tanimoto: Generations - Father & Son (The Stratford Gallery, UK)