Featured Artist

Akiko Hirai


Akiko Hirai (b. Shizuoka, Japan, 1970) employs the Japanese tradition of leaning on the properties of clay to guide the final process of how her sculptural vessels and functional wares should be fired. Hirai’s works encourage the viewers to forge their own personal interaction with the ceramics she creates. Hirai believes that the full expression of her work is manifest when her vessels are in daily use. As the artist says, “If it’s just an object to look at, you don’t often touch it,’ she says. “But if it’s like a cup or a bowl or something like that, you just use it every day and it becomes part of your life.” Hirai’s jars, made by layering clay and glaze until the surface is heavily textured, combine balance and imperfection, embracing irregularities and asymmetry. She has been inspired in particular by a white porcelain ‘full moon’ jar dating from the 18th century, in the collection of the British Museum, with ‘so many marks that people call it imperfect,’ she says, adding that in the spirit of that pot, her vessels trace her state of mind, ‘all the events that have happened.’Hirai’s works range from pieces of fine porcelain to Moon Jars and texturally glazed platters. Her unique approach has created international praise and attention, and her works are collected and represented by important galleries such as Hauser & Wirth Zurich.