Kazunori Hamana creates vast, sculptural vessels that draw on Japan's ceramic heritage. Hamana innovates these traditions and often integrates unconventional materials into his artworks.Read More
Kazunori Hamana was born in Osaka, Japan, and spent his childhood in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. At the age of 15, spurred by his interest in nature and the ecosystem at large, Hamana left home and joined a rural agricultural community. Following a period of studying at MiraCosta College in San Diego, California, Hamana returned to Japan to establish a restaurant and sneaker shop in Harajuku, Tokyo.
In 2008, Hamana relocated to a seaside fishing village in Chiba Prefecture. It is here he established his ceramic practice alongside working as a fisherman and organic rice farmer.
Self-taught, Hamana has developed a practice that is notable for its innovative interpretation of ancient Japanese pottery. Integrating his deep appreciation for nature into his process, Hamana creates hand-coiled pots that, once fired, are exposed to the atmosphere. Left outside to pick up the sun and salty air, a work like Untitled (2021)—brown with streaks of red and blue—appears weathered and aged.
Hamana's artworks characteristically embrace imperfection. The cavernous sculptures are inspired by Japan's traditional storage jars, tsubo, and are often irregular in shape. A piece like Untitled (2021), plain, white, and lopsided, reveals that it is made through intuition, with Hamana working at a slow pace to allow for full contemplation.
The fragility of Hamana's artworks is made explicit. In a collaboration with artist Yukiko Kuroda, Hamana has conceived of an unorthodox version of kintsugi—the traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gilded lacquer. Moving away from the conventional gold binding agent, the artists work with a range of materials, including bamboo, metal staples, and Japanese lacquer, to repair the artworks. In Hamana's Untitled (2013—2020), straw is woven into the ceramic to bridge fine cracks, showing the beauty of impermanence.
The artist has participated in several solo and group exhibitions. Solo exhibitions include Kazunori Hamana, Blue Projects, Blue Mountain School, London (2019) and Kazunori Hamana, Curator's Cube, Tokyo (2018).
His work has also been included in group exhibitions, including Benefit Art Auction Preview Exhibition, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California (2021); Juxtapoz x Superflat, Pivot Art + Culture, Seattle and Vancouver Art Gallery (2018); and Kazunori Hamana, Yuji Ueda, and Otani Workshop, curated by Takashi Murakami, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles and New York (2015).
Kazunori Hamana's Instagram can be found here.
Ocula | 2021