Monden Yuichi

BIO/CV

b. 1942 Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Japan

Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 1980

    Admitted to Hiroshima Prefecture Arts Exhibition (thereafter admitted 12 times)

  • 1983

    Winner of Encouragement Award at Hiroshima Prefecture Arts Exhibition

  • 1990

    Winner of Encouragement Award at Hiroshima Prefecture Arts Exhibition

  • 1992

    Winner of Best of Show Award at Hiroshima Prefecture Arts Exhibition

  • 1998

    Retired from job as an applied scientist to pursue career as a bamboo artist

  • 1999

    Studied bamboo art under Tanabe Nobuyuki and Sugawara Hiromi for 2 years

  • 2001

    The Next Generation, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

  • 2002

    Admitted for first time to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition
    The Next Generation, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2003

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 2005

    Winner of Up and Coming Artist of the Year Prize
    Admitted for first time to Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition)

  • 2006

    Power & Delicacy: Master Works of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, IA and Chicago Cultural Center, IL
    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 2007

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 2008

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 2009

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition
    Admitted to Nitten

  • 2010

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition
    Father and Son: 107 Years of Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2011

    Beauty in All Things: Japanese Art and Design, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY


Museum Collections
  • Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY


ARTIST STATEMENT

Late at night in 1975 after my father went to sleep, I went to my father’s studio and, picking up his bamboo knife, started to split scrap bamboo he discarded. I was born into a bamboo basket-making family. I lived with bamboo and played with bamboo since my childhood. Bamboo was everywhere in my life. I asked myself, is it a waste not to try to make something with bamboo?  I couldn’t think any other medium to express myself but bamboo. I started to work with bamboo by myself at nights since that night on. Later in that year, I made my first bamboo basket, two hexagonal cylinders joined in the middle.

Though I created and submitted one work per year and successfully showed at Hiroshima Prefectural Art exhibitions since the late 1970s and even won some prizes and awards, only training I had was examining my father’s work and experiments with my own hands. I felt real needs of systematic training to advance myself to a professional level. I took an early retirement from my engineer job in 1998, and went to study at the Bamboo Training Center in Beppu.  After graduating the center, I took two years advanced study under Tanabe Kochikusai, a senior assistant to Shono Shounsai, the first Living National Treasure. We lived in Beppu while I was a child, and many senior artists there know my father, so that I enjoyed nice working relationships to so many people while I stayed there.

In 2002, I joined a study tour to New Mexico and had a group show in Santa Fe along with much more established bamboo artists. That experience deepened my professionalism.  In 2004, I submitted my work to Nitten for the first time and got rejected. As I thought of changing my direction for the following year, one of the judge advised me to stay the course. I followed his advice and tried to improve my work for the next year. The result was fruitful. I won the Rookie of the Year Prize at the Japan Modern Art Exhibition followed by my first success in Nitten.

I like the straightness of this medium. When you cut into a calm, it  splits exactly into half. I put my heart into each split. Preparation of the material really dictates the outcome of what you make in this art. Though I am an old rookie in this art form, it is my goal to some day make an art piece to advance this art form in my own small way.

  • Monden Koyoku & Yuichi: Father & Son 107 Years of Bamboo Art