Otsu: 木芸 田中清貴 - Kiyotaka Tanaka's “Mokkougei”
Kiyotaka Tanaka's “Mokkougei”
Master Kiyotaka Tanaka is a renowned cabinetmaker and lacquerer, dubbed by his peers in Japan. His very personal style, the "mokkougei"; literally, "the art of wood"; gave birth to magnificent objects present in both Buddhist temples and the greatest restaurants of the Japanese archipelago.
His style is resolutely modern and refined. Yet, Kiyotaka Tanaka comes from a family of renowned traditional craftsmen in Kyoto. His grandfather was well known at the Imperial Palace, where he was exhibiting his works of art. Kiyotaka’s path was therefore clear, he was going to continue perpetuating the family’s tradition in the former imperial capital. However, he preferred to go into exile on the shores of Lake Biwa, to afford total creative freedom, far from the traditionalist rigor of Kyoto.
Tailor-made as a creative factor
Above all, Master Kiyotaka Tanaka works mainly on demand. His customers come from all over Japan and seek his unparalleled know-how for the creation of furniture pieces. An inimitable label, guided by the artistic spirit of wabi-sabi, as well as the love of this raw material: wood. When you send him an order, you have to trust him. The only thing that will guide him apart from his artistic spirit, will be the sensual and voluptuous shapes coming from precious wood that he will use to shape a brilliant object of technical and aesthetic qualities.
Mastery of “sashimono” and “kurimono”
Two techniques are essential to the conception of "mokkougei" works, the "sashimono" (the art of Japanese wood) and the "kurimono". The first allows to assemble the different pieces of wood so that they fit together in a perfect and aesthetic way thanks to "kurimono" technique, which is the process of drilling wood. The lacquering technique brings the personal touch of the artist and will also aim at protecting and magnifying the natural colors of the wood. From childhood, Kiyotaka Tanaka was inspired by the sensitivity of working with precious woods by watching his father and grandfather prosper in the luxury crafts world. He will perfect his gesture and his artistic sense in a more personal way during his learning, where for almost 10 years, he will study lacquering, wood sculpture, but also interior design, which will influence his contemporary furnitures.
Numerous prizes awarded by his peers
In 2002, after years of apprenticeship, master Tanaka became a member of the Japanese Craftsmen Association. Since that day, more than fifteen prizes have been awarded to him by his peers in the land of the Rising Sun. His most iconic work is the famous "Sogiri Benchi", a bench entirely made of paulownia, a highly respected tree in Japan. Master Tanaka even declined it as an art deco object, the "Minichua Benchi", which will give any modern venue a contemporary touch, straight from the Japanese archipelago.
If you are interested in his art, visit our shop. Kiyotaka Tanaka's works are exclusively on UNJAPAN for the international market. For furnishings, please contact us at email@example.com
To learn more about Master Tanaka's "Mokkougei", watch the interview below. Kiyotaka Tanaka exceptionally opened his doors to UNJAPAN on the shores of Lake Biwa to show us his workshop and his talent.