Ogawa Machiko
April 05, 2024
Mineral Vein

April 5 – April 13, 2024

Invitation only

Breathing House

by Ogawa Machiko

I think it was a few years ago that Mr. Yamauchi from Shibunkaku asked if I would like to come see a new exhibition space at Saga.


For the three days, January 11—13, 2024, my work was exhibited, and photos were taken by Mr. Minamoto in this space for the catalog of the exhibition which begins April 5th.


The building was the ancestral home of Shibunkaku’s Mr. Tanaka and had been renovated over several years. Preserving the existing architecture, the walls made from mud and old straw, along with the intricate wooden beams and ceiling were maintained and combined with sharp new aluminum.


The ceiling of the main building is tall, and as it opens widely, you can see the expanse of the first-floor surface from between the beams of the second floor living space.


Feeling the slight breeze flowing through, it could be called a breathing house. I was immediately driven by a desire to exhibit my work here.


A finely detailed depiction of flowers in the garden by Honda Takeshi, who was the first artist to creat works in this residency, was displayed in the center of old wood braces against the backdrop of green trees. The beautiful photo in the leaflet sparked a subtle yearning to create an artwork for the wall.


On my second visit, I brought a small cubic work made by combining white porcelain clay with a bright turquoise blue frit glaze and placed it on the table against a green background.


It was beautiful.


After that, the large work Water Disc and wall piece Water Fragments were created.



There was a period when I thought I wanted to create a small installation of cobalt-colored fragments. A cardboard box filled with many blue fragments had long been forgotten in a corner of the atelier.


When I decided to apply cobalt-colored glaze to the masses of porcelain clay stacked under the eaves of the studio, aiming to create a large installation on the floor, I am not exactly certain. Perhaps the light grey-beige color of the floor’s surface naturally spread out in my mind like a canvas.


The title “Mineral Vein” came to mind.

On the third day of my stay, the morning of the day I was to return, as I casually looked at the yuzu, lemon, and pomelo fruits that I had brought from the garden of my home in Yugawara placed on the table, memories suddenly surfaced of my visit to India 30 years ago for the India Triennale. From a small boat on the Ganges River in Varanasi, I sunk a small piece of white-glazed pottery that I had with me into the murky bottom of the water.


Beyond the large glass window that spanned the entire wall of the separate exhibition room, there was a somewhat winter-withered garden with plants and trees.


I decided to leave these fruits in the corner of this garden.


If they are lucky in this bitter cold, one day we may be permitted to see the yellow berries amongst the greenery in the large glass aperture.


I made a slight depression in the soil, placed the fruit, and gently covered them with earth.


Photography: Tadayuki Minamoto

Photo: Tadayuki Minamoto
Ogawa Machiko
Born in Sapporo in 1946, Ogawa Machiko studied crafts at the Tokyo University of the Arts and graduate in 1969. She went on to study ceramics at École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués et des métiers d’art in Paris from 1969 to 1971. In 1972, she moved to Burkina Faso, West Africa, where she encountered the local method of ceramic-making, which inspired her greatly. She still uses this technique in her practice today. Ogawa Machiko’s work is deeply influenced by her travels, and reflects her life-long interest in rocks and minerals.