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Artist of the Month
January 2021

Artist of the Month

Koichi Matsufuji

Japanese-based artist Koichi Matsufuji studied glass both in Japan and at Illinois State University where he earned his master’s degree in 2001. HeMatsufuji has long been interested in the materiality of glass. His most representative work, the Baby Series, symbolizes the beginning of life and represents an entity that can become anything in the future. Matsufuji is represented by Ai Bo Gallery, Purchase, New York.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Koichi Matsufuji

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

I first encountered glass when I was a first-year university student. The first time I ever saw glass melt at 1300 degrees, I felt death. It reflected a world where life could not survive, like the molten interior of a volcano’s crater. However, once the red-hot glass cooled, it showed a completely different expression. When it changed into a mystical material that is both transparent and envelops light, I felt the life of the glass. I witnessed the precise moment when the shape was formed.

About Koichi Matsufuji

Koichi Matsufuji was born in Nagasaki in 1973. He studied glasswork at Aichi University of Education from 1991, and after graduating he came to the U.S. with the support of a Pola Art Foundation Researcher Overseas Grant. He studied sculpture at the Illinois State University School of Art starting in 1998 and completed his master's degree in 2001. He is currently living and working in Toyama, Japan.

Matsufuji has long been interested in the materiality of glass. In the early stages of his career, he produced works that investigated the concept of death. However, after his father's sudden death, Matsufuji began to create babies which symbolize the beginning of life and represent an entity that can become anything in the future. He also makes the babies into Buddha statues or Kabuki actors, addressing additional aspects of human life through his works.

Koichi uses the lost-wax kiln casting glass technique. First, he makes the original form of the babies in wax, pours it in refractory plaster to create a mold and fills the mold with glass in the electric kiln. Koichi melts it at a high temperature of 900°C and lets it cool slowly over a number of days. He says that his works get a soul during the time they spend in the kiln as he takes the glass out of the kiln and carefully polishes it.  He then inserts the babies' eyes for the finishing touch. The surface of the works in the Baby Series, is finished with ground glass. Depending on the way the light shines, the glass babies in these works are as beautiful as jewels.

“The glass baby, filled with light, sits before us like a god. It is the Existence as a prayer for the future.”

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Ai Bo Gallery, Purchase, New York, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.