Junpei Hiraoka

Junpei Hiraoka is a ceramic artist born in 1996 in Tokyo, Japan.

As an adolescent, I attended an evening high school in the suburbs of Tokyo, where I experienced poverty and the imbalance of Japanese society. I also thought about why the social system exists and often struggled with this reality. To express these thoughts, I studied painting at Setsu Mode Seminar in 2016 and then began studying ceramics at Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center in 2018. I am currently working at Kanazawa Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo’s ceramics studio.

I use my emotions, heart, and clay as for my work to express a part of this complex and accumulated contemporary society. I have exhibited my work in Japan and abroad, including at Collect 2020 in London, Tokyo Art Fair in 2021, and at fair.milano in Italy in 2022.

Visit Junpei Hiraoka’s website and Instagram page.

Featured work

Selected works, 2020-2022

Junpei Hiraoka Ceramics

In Japanese, the word “complex” is causally used to describe an inferiority complex or closeness. However, I know that in psychology, the term refers to certain types of impulses, desires, and attachments. I have titled my work Complex to reference both of these meanings.

As I made these works, I thought about what caused my emotional responses and reflected upon my own “complexes.” I believe that emotions come from an entanglement of belief systems, personal histories, and interactions with different environments. I have attempted to express this mental process of self-reflection through my work as “decomposing → re-recognizing → reconstructing.”

I use the plasticity of clay to express an instinctive, abstract, organic, and constantly changing form of emotion. Then, I carefully coat the body with colored slips. This process is where I reconstruct my emotions rationally by intentionally controlling the material, color, and texture by layering slip.

I believe that such processes, shapes, and color combinations can express the complexity and accumulation of emotions that lead to such “complexes.” By presenting these ceramic forms of layered slip, I hope to provoke an emotional reaction from the viewer, perhaps opening a window to their inner emotions.