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.
Tell me more.
The artist, Jun Nishida, allowed the materials to form naturally in the kiln, imitating the natural processes of fire and earth.
You will notice how the outside of the piece is smooth and hard, completely fired by the very high kiln temperature. The inside, meanwhile, is still raw and almost chalk like, as it was too far into the interior of the mass of clay to properly bake.
Nishida said of his abstract, conceptual works, "My works are examples of nature, and are essentially copies of natural forms. It's similar to how Mother Earth makes stones."
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.
What process did this artist use to fuse the glass and clay in this piece?
He would form large masses of clay, and then cover them with layers and layers of celedon, before firing them in an intensely hot kiln. Because he would not hollow out or thin out the clay, the outer portions (where the glaze is) would fire fully, while the inside would remain raw.
I get the impression that the glaze itself was not unusual, aside from how much he layered on, but his methods were, and because he wasn't trying to keep his ceramic intact (natural breaks and distortions were the goal) piling up the glaze wasn't an issue!