Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “translucent transformation,” Akio Niisato’s second solo exhibition with the gallery from June 4 to July 2, 2022.
Presented on this occasion are large-scale works from Niisato’s representative series “Luminescent Vessels.” “Luminescent Vessels” consists of highly translucent porcelain vessels adorned with countless perforations that are each filled with clear glaze before firing. The works, which give the impression of emitting light themselves as they capture the light received within the porcelain, are conceived by making perforations in the vessel before it dries out after crafting it into shape on the potter’s wheel –the entire procedure of which at times may take over half a day.
The vessels that have been crafted to utmost delicacy so as to embrace the light occasionally cause inevitable cracks, splits, and small scratches in the process of firing. For this reason, the “Luminescent Vessels” require extreme precision and finesse in their production. In recent years however, Niisato has come to discern a certain strength in the shapes of these impairments that manifest as a result of such “failures,” thus also producing works that attempt to conceive new forms through drawing inspiration from these unforeseen breakages. The “Luminescent Vessels,” which the artist has been producing for nearly 20 years, have come to take on more diverse and eclectic forms through actively and repeatedly exploring various modes of expression while striving to overcome structural problems.
Throughout his practice, Niisato has produced vessels in the form of sake ware, bowls, and incense burners and so forth, yet in addition has continued to explore the relationship between “porcelain” and “light” as well as the relationship between the “usable” and “unusable.” As a result of this on-going pursuit, in recent years he has also produced works that take on various forms that focus on elements such as shape and color.
The vibrant blue color that is created through mixing cobalt with metal is observed in the series of work “perforated vessel” which differs in appearance to the “Luminescent Vessels.” In addition to the impression of their distinctive color, the vessels’ perforations are intentionally left unfilled with glaze so as to eliminate the border between the inside and outside. What is conceived as a result is an array of highly unique works whose forms reflect the artist’s more fluid and flexible exploration of ideas. While inheriting the history and lineage of ceramics, the way in which Niisato approaches the materials based on his own established techniques, indeed serves to communicate his very attitude of attempting to transcend the conventional definition and framework of vessels.
In addition to participating in numerous international exhibitions since the early 2000s, Niisato lived and worked in the United States for a year in 2011, thus continuing to develop his career within the world of contemporary ceramics not only in Japan but also overseas. In this exhibition, Niisato, who has steadily enhanced his techniques through production, will present works that while rooted in tradition, have been conceived in a more free and innovative manner.