Demon 2020



Kontani’s symbolic ceramic objects resemble the shisa lion-dog statues found in Okinawa and other parts of Japan, as well as monsters and goblins seen in anime, which make a strong initial impression on the viewer. Some of them howl ferociously, and some stare back wide-eyed and furious, but all of them are full of talisman-like energy. Located adjacent to an anagama kiln in a mountainous village in Shiga Prefecture, Kontani’s studio is enveloped in a kind of tranquility with only a simple worktable on a dirt floor in a space covered by a corrugated roof. The taciturn Kontani works in silence. The magical and mysteriously powerful works he produces may be a cathartic conduit for the artist to resolve his inner anxiety and connect with the uncertainty of society. Kontani began making works in 2015 and soon began to see his influence in Shinichi Sawada's practice, who works in the same place.


Born in 1970, Kontani currently resides in Shiga Prefecture. Since 2015, he has been working as part of the Nakayoshi Gama ceramics studio. Kontani's work is reminiscent of Shisa, a traditional lion-like Ryukyuan cultural artifact found in Okinawa and other parts of Japan. He has a mental health disorder, the influence of which is seen in his evolving creative practice at Nakayoshi Gama.