Komei Bekki

1952 Japan, Shiga Prefecture

To Komei Bekki, clay is the medium which he can completely indulge in. Alone in his atelier he creates his universe full of small objects, such as dolls and animals.


At 4 pm sharp every day, when everybody has already left, Bekki arrives at a ceramic studio. He enjoys spending time alone playing with clay. He creates numerous small objects such as money, food, dolls and animals. Once started, a series of works emerge one after another and his hands never stop. Muttering incomprehensible coined words, totally focused, he is surrounded by a thrilling and tense atmosphere. He shows curious behaviors in the middle of production. For one thing, he chews a piece of clay, spits it out and uses it in his work. For another, he takes off his clothes completely, folds them inside out, and then puts them on again. These actions appear to be his indispensable rituals for changing something inside him. His work was exhibited at the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne in 1997 and is now a part of that collection.

© Portrait: Satoshi Takaishi & Nobuo Onishi