Yamaguchi Ryuun

BIO/CV

b. 1940, Saga Prefecture, Japan

Education
  • 1957

    Graduated from Oita Prefecture Beppu Advanced Occupational School, Department of Bamboo Craft Art

  • 1963

    Apprenticed to Shono Shounsai (Living National Treasure)


Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 1967

    Excellence Award, 3rd Beppu City New Bamboo Craft Art Exhibition (again in 1972)

  • 1969

    Beppu City Mayor’s Award, 9th Oita Prefecture Craft Arts Exhibition (thereafter winner eight times including Governor’s Award and Shono Shounsai Award)
    Paulownia Award, 2nd Kyushu Modern Craft Arts Exhibition (again in 1972)

  • 1970

    Encouragement Award, 3rd Exhibition for Modern Craft Art Association in Kyushu

  • 1987

    Admitted to Japan New Craft Arts Exhibition (thereafter admitted 10 times)

  • 1988

    Governor of Oita Award, 9th Japan New Craft Arts Kyushu Exhibition

  • 1990

    Admitted to Paris Top 100 Artists Award Competition

  • 1993

    Northern Kyushu Art Museum Award, 15th Japan New Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1994

    Admitted to 26th Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition)

  • 1997

    Admitted to 29th Nitten

  • 1998

    Admitted to Japanese Citizen’s Cultural Festival

  • 1999

    Bamboo Masterworks, Asia Society, New York, NY

  • 2000

    Bamboo Masterworks, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
    Northern Kyushu Museum Prize, Japan New Craft Arts Exhibition
    Bamboo Masterworks, Honolulu Academy of Art, HI

  • 2001

    Bamboo Fantasies, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Best Bamboo Baskets: The Cotsen Collection, Long House Reserve, East Hampton, NY

  • 2002

    Group Show, Tigerman Himmel Gallery, Chicago, IL

  • 2004

    Exhibited in the Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, VA

  • 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
    Beyond Basketry: Japanese Bamboo Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

  • 2008

    New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters, Japan Society, New York, NY

  • 2009

    Many Shapes of Bamboo III, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Oita
    Yamaguchi Ryuun and Kibe Seiho two-artist show, TAI Gallery Santa Fe, NM
    The New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe
    Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection
    Member’s Award, 31st Japan New Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 2010

    Intertwined:Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
    Many Shapes of Bamboo IV, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Oita

  • 2011

    Many Shapes of Bamboo V, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Oita

  • 2012

    Legacy of Inspiration: Shono Shounsai and His Students, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe,NM

  • 2013

    Oita’s Art Movement, in partnership with the Oita Prefectural Government, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2014

    Group show, Japanese American Cultural Community Center, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2017

    Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Modern at Joan B Mirviss LTD, New York, NY


Museum Collections
  • Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
    Art Institute of Chicago, IL
    Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    Oita City Museum of Art


ARTIST STATEMENT

Bamboo is beautiful.

I listen to it. The bamboo says many things tome.

I enjoy my conversations with it.

I express beauty through bamboo: the beauty of water flowing,

the beauty of flowers, the beauty of moving clouds.

I try to bring the beauty of nature into my sculpture.

At the age of sixteen my father encouraged me to learn bamboo basketry. After learning the basics at the Beppu Occupational School, my first opportunity knocked at my door in 1963 when I became a live-in-assistant to local basket maker, Shono Shounsai. I worked at his Shikutei Studio for a year making Shounsai-designed bamboo trays. I spent as much time as possible after hours at my master’s studio watching and learning how he created his exhibition pieces. This became the foundation of my art making. After leaving his studio, I started to create my own art work submitting one or two pieces a year to juried public exhibitions, while earning a living making simple flower baskets ordered by bamboo wholesalers.

The second opportunity knocked at my door when Mr. Robert Coffland visited me. He introduced my work to the West. To my great surprise the Western audience accepted my artwork, and I became a full-time artist. Mr. Coffland kindly offered me a solo show in Santa Fe, NM. I have participated in a number of group shows in Japan, but this was my very first solo show. I am very grateful. It is the third opportunity knocking at my door for the next chapter in my bamboo art.

  • Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art

  • Japanese Bamboo and the World Expo: A Century of Discovery

  • Yamaguchi Ryuun

  • Legacy of Inspiration: Shono Shounsai and His Students

  • Oita’s Art Movement

  • Oita’s Art Moment