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Kohei UKAI Lacquer Art Solo Exhibition 4.2 - 5.3.2023

Curated and presented by The Gallery by SOIL

In collaboration with Keiko Art International

(Photography by Okamura Kichiro)


Kohei UKAI

Kohei Ukai was born in Aichi, Japan in 1993 and he earned his BFA and first MFA at the Kanazawa College of Art. From 2018 to 2021, he was trained in Kanazawa Utatsuyama Craft Studio in Japan, specialising in wood crafts and lacquerwork. Ukai’s work has been featured in art fairs and solo exhibitions in Japan and China. His work has been selected for the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition in 2014 and 2017 and received The Award of URUSHI (Japan URUSHI association) in 2018. He was the finalist, LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2020.

Ukai seeks to celebrate the primitive vitality of his materials. His technique consists of wood carving to first obtain the desired shape and of multiple layers of lacquer, Urushi, to get to this unique finish that makes his work so special. Urushi is the tree sap produced when a tree is damaged or a branch is broken, an ancestral technique that continues to be used today for its unique properties.

“The shape is carved along the grain of the wood without deciding the finished shape. There are times when I feel the moment when the claim of the tree and the intention of the creator are balanced, and at that time, the natural flow seems to move. I also want to show the process of lacquer swallowing wood.” In his working process, Ukai pays particular attention to protecting trees by naturally and unintentionally interacting with nature; a critical relationship between the lacquer and his raw material.






Kohei UKAI

Natural lacquer, ash wood, hemp cloth

H330mm x W580mm x D340mm


Kohei UKAI

Natural lacquer, Camphor wood, hemp cloth

H190mm x W140mm x D120mm


Kohei UKAI

Natural lacquer, Boxwood, hemp cloth

H480mm x W230mm x D80mm


Kohei UKAI

Natural lacquer, Japanese cypress, hemp cloth

H370mm x W300mm x D70mm



The Gallery by SOIL is dedicated to presenting the art of lacquer from Asia. It is probably the first gallery in Hong Kong which brings together lacquer masters and artists of diverse cultures, blending the traditional with the contemporary to showcase variety in the discipline.


Shop 102, 1/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun,

10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Opening Hours:

12nn - 6pm Tuesday - Sunday

Enquiry: 5916 9266 / 9559 3908


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