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Kōgei meets Contemporary Art: Works of Nakagawa Mamoru and Tatehana Noritaka

2022.09.01(Thu) - 2022.10.05(Wed)


This exhibition showcases a collaboration between two prominent artists Nakagawa Mamoru and Tatehana Noritaka, who respectively represent a long-standing crafting technique and contemporary art, presenting the Heel-less Shoes Downtown I as an exploratory product of this collaboration.
Nakagawa Mamoru was originally an industrial product designer from Ishikawa. His career path transcended when he plunged into the world of metal art, being mesmerized by the beauty of inlay metalwork known as Kaga zogan. His work is highly appreciated for the poetic designs inspired by natural motifs and his unique technique of rendering gradations. In 2004, he was designated as a living national treasure in the category of metal carving technique in recognition of his invaluable contributions to Kaga zogan.
The Tokyo-born artist Tatehana Noritaka began building his successful career in contemporary art as he finished his studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts. His work has been highly acclaimed internationally, notably the heel-less shoes, which he first created as a student. This footwear, modeled on the elevated sandals for top-class courtesans, caught imaginations of many celebrities, such as Lady Gaga. This event attempts to explore new aspects of Japan’s kōgei traditions and is part of a program for promoting collaborations across different fields of kōgei, endorsed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.


Nakagawa Mamoru

1947 Born in Ishikawa prefecture 1971 Graduated from the Kanazawa College of Art (industrial design) and started working for Panasonic 1974 Left Panasonic to apprentice under metal artist Takahashi Kaishu, embarking on a career as a kōgei artist 1996 Professor at the Kanazawa College of Art 2004 Designation of a preserver of important intangible cultural properties of Japan in the category of chōkin 2008 The US Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired his work 2010 The British Museum acquired his work 2018 Decorated with the Third Class Order of the Secret Treasure by the government of Japan

Tatehana Noritaka

1985 Born in Tokyo 2010 Graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts (textile arts) 2012 International touring exhibition “Future Beauty” (at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, etc.) 2014 Exhibition “Image Maker” (21_21 DESIGN SIGHT) 2016 Participated in the Bunraku theater hosted by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris 2019 Solo exhibitions: “NORITAKA TATEHANA: Refashioning Beauty” at Portland Japanese Garden / “It’s always the others who die” at the POLA Museum Annex


Collaborative work

DOWNTOWN I, 202, Nakagawa and Tatehana


checkered vase

Vase in checkered design, 2020, Nakagawa Mamoru


vase morning on a southern island

Vase “Morning on a southern island”, 2020, Nakagawa Mamoru



Vase with inlay on rogin "Glimmer on water", Nakagawa Mamoru, Kanazawa Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo collection

Descending Painting Series (yellow thunder, blue cloud) 2019 ©NORITAKA TATEHANA K.K.


Heel-less Shoes 2021 ©NORITAKA TATEHANA K.K.


Floating World Series (Raven) 2014 ©NORITAKA TATEHANA K.K.


Floating World Series 2021 ©NORITAKA TATEHANA K.K.