Are Kawase & Fukami Living National Treasures in Japan?
Neither artist is a Living National Treasure at this time. I'm not aware of any ceramic artist who works in a more contemporary vein like Fukami or Kawase who has earned the designation, though there are Living National Treasures who work in modern forms. The designation is most often given to people who are continuing to refine traditional approaches.
Can you tell me more about these two ceramic works?
Hi there! I'm really fascinated by these contemporary ceramic works by Japanese artists. I recently learned that there is a long tradition in Japan of allowing the materials themselves a role in the creation of each piece.
The first object you photographed, for example, was placed into the kiln as a lump of clay. The artist had full knowledge that the clay would significantly change in the kiln because of its unreasonable thickness. At the same time, he had no knowledge of what the resulting work would look like.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the second work you photographed, by Fukami, is executed with precision and the artist even gives instructions for installation.
Is it true that the blue-green seihakuji glaze is difficult to work with?
Seihakuji glaze relies of the reduction of oxygen in the kiln as it heats up to react with the glaze to produce the color so it is certainly a very exact, delicate process.
Interesting! Thank you.
I'm intrigued by this piece.
It's so elegant, isn't it? This smooth porcelain work is incredibly controlled. Artist Fukami Sueharu uses a seihakuji glaze, a type of glaze developed in 11th century China that is blue-green in color.
The color of the glaze comes from the way the ceramic is fired in an oxygen reducing kiln environment.
Fukami includes in depth instructions for how to display his work, and he also made the wooden base on which it sits.
This work is particularly interesting to compare to the contrastingly free form work by Nishida Jun also in our collection. Both artists tap into the ceramics traditions, but their goals and results are very different.
Thanks so much!
Is there a reason these pieces are grouped together? Minus the two Qing vases, the other 4 Japanese ones seem super modern. Also, what influenced the other 4?
These pieces were placed together because they are all celadons, though as you have rightly pointed out, some are very modern and some are not. In the context of the exhibition "Infinite Blue," the celadon case is meant to highlight celadon works that are a light, clear blue, rather than the milky green generally associated with this type of ceramic.
The grouping helps us to trace a path from Chinese celadons exported to the rest of Asia, to blue celadons prized and perfected by Japanese ceramicists, to the contemporary works that still aim for the same effect.
Infinity II is really unique looking for a ceramic piece.
It is somewhat unusual, mostly because it is a contemporary work where the artist has taken traditional ceramic techniques to new places. Infinity II is actually pressure-cast and then carved to get the smooth, blade-like shape you see.
How heavy would you say the piece "Infinity II" by Fukami Sueharu is? We are debating whether the piece is hollow or not.
Although I can’t give an exact weight, the piece is very heavy and is completely solid.
I think this porcelain object (not sure what exactly to call it) is super beautiful.
You could call it a sculpture! And I agree! As you may have guessed from looking at this piece, the artist, Fukami Sueharu, is very precise in his art-making process.
He uses a glaze known as "seiakuji" in Japanese, which was first developed in the 11th century in China. Fukami fires his works in an electric kiln so that he can precisely control the temperature and therefore the outcome of his works.
Oh cool! Electric.
I’m just amazed by how sleek it is. And like the edge is so sharp like a blade but the design of the curve also has like a biological element ( sort of like a whale tail).
The precise form of this object and others that he makes are the result of a casting process. The body is actually made of slip--which is clay-based, but thinner in consistency--that he pours into a mold and uses a custom compressor to ensure total coverage of the walls.
He further refines the edges with metal tools when the sculpture is removed from the mold.
Thanks for all the info!!
What was the inspiration for this piece? And where is Infinity I, if this is Infinity II?
Fukami takes inspiration from his materials, like this traditional kaolin porcelain and seihakuji glaze that he often works with.
This is number 2 of 8 works from this series. I'm not sure where exactly the others are, but they would be in other collections around the world.