Throughout his career, Kondo Takahiro has striven to determine his own independent artistic identity through extensive experimentation. Born in Kyoto into a family celebrated for its traditional sometsuke (cobalt blue-and-white porcelain), he first began working with the challenging medium of porcelain and it has remained his principal material. As a young man he was a competitive sportsman, becoming a champion in table tennis and traveling abroad for competitions. Despite his exposure to clay at an early age, he did not seriously consider pursuing a career related to his family’s art until he was in his twenties.
Kondo’s early work followed the sometsuke tradition mastered by his grandfather and father and, like them, he was highly influenced by the work and writings of Tomimoto Kenkichi (1886-1963), who stressed the importance of balancing technique with originality. He quickly developed his own style and began to incorporate other media into his work, starting with metal then adding cast glass. This early experimentation resulted in his unique and highly distinctive “silver mist” (gintekisai) glaze, which is an amalgam of platinum, gold, silver and glass frit that ranges in appearance from a subtle shimmer to a stream of molten drops that cling and pool over the porcelain surfaces.
Water has been his principal theme for many years and he has explored not only its physical forms such as rain, ice, steam, and mist, but also its conceptual aspects as a source of life, purifier, natural resource, and, most currently, as a critical environmental issue in regards to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Kondo was deeply affected by the natural disasters that befell Japan in 2011 and has incorporated his thoughts and feelings on the subject into most of his work since then. He continues to spend substantial time fund-raising and working with those residing in the areas most devastated by those cataclysmic events.