Wednesday 26th June

| BY Ariadne Diogenous

Genta Ishizuka is the Winner of the 2019 Loewe Craft Prize, Here’s What You Need to Know

“Craft is the essence of Loewe. As a house we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant”, says Jonathan Anderson. Since the Loewe Craft Prize’s establishment in 2016, it has gained growing prominence with the number of submissions up by a staggering 44% for its third edition. Loewe’s creative director sees craft as being intrinsic to the brand and like the clothes, the Prize has a focus on innovative and extraordinary use of materials.

So, what about this year’s winner? Of the 29 artists shortlisted, Genta Ishizuka’s work caught the eye of the panel, taking home the prize of €50,000, a shiny silver trophy, and the accolade of being a true craft trailblazer. Born in Japan in 1982, Ishizuka earned a BFA from Kyoto City University of Arts in 2008. Since then his work has been internationally exhibited and features in prominent collections across the world, including the V&A and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Ishizuka’s winning piece Surface Tactility #11 (2018), is a three-dimentional work combining both the immaculacy of the sculpture and the tangibility of craft. The organic form, realised in glossy red lacquer is modelled on the motif of a bag of oranges, which is an ongoing point of departure in Ishizuka’s work.“Ishizuka’s work proves that craft can be open and shows the freedom of creation. His use of an ancient lacquer technique in a contemporary art form breaks from conventions and represents a new sculptural vision in craft,” says Anderson following the award ceremony at Isamu Noguchi’s Heaven, an indoor stone garden at the Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo yesterday.

The jury also selected two special mentions: Harry Morgan with Untitled (2018) and Kazuhito Takadoi with KADO (Angle) (2018). Much like Ishizuka, the way that these artists use their materials with intelligence and dedication is what drew the jury to their works. The panel of jurors included Jonathan Anderson himself, last year’s prize winner Jennifer Lee and many other prominent art world figures including Deyan Sudjic, director of Design Museum and Naoto Fukasawa, designer and director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. “This year’s finalists prove that old traditions of making continue to surprise us and be radical and contemporary,” adds Lee.

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2019 Exhibition is on display at Isamu Noguchi’s indoor stone garden ‘Heaven’ at the Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo, Japan until July 22nd.