Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “Harmonious Balance and Broken Fragments,” a solo exhibition of works by Akio Niisato from February 27 to March 27, 2021.
Recognized as a key presence in the realm of contemporary ceramics, artist Akio Niisato has presented his works in various exhibitions both in Japan and abroad since the early 2000s. His “Luminescent” series, which has been introduced in various forms over the years, consists of vessels created by making perforations in translucent white porcelain, and filling each of the holes with clear glaze before firing. Similarities can be observed between these works that give the impression of emitting light in themselves and the technique of ‘hotarude,’ which enable translucent patterns to emerge when it carries the light, with their luminescent appearance likened to a firefly. Nevertheless, this representative series has none other than been conceived through a distinct method that the artist has independently developed throughout the course of his practice.
The production of his much acclaimed “Luminescent” series has variously been crafted into vessels and drinking utensils and requires a highly precise level of technique, yet on the other hand, before arriving at their completion, they are necessarily subject to the process of firing, which the artist himself is unable to control. Due to the sheer delicacy of the work, not only the cracks and breakages that occur in the firing process, but also the signs of even the smallest scratches are prohibited, and thus a vast number of “failed attempts” exist in the backdrop of the works that have been created.
Spending more time in his studio that ever before in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the artist had come to turn his eyes towards the power that such “failed attempts” harbored, as well as the beauty that lay hidden within what was deemed unsuccessful. It immediately introduced a new beacon to his artistic practice, leading him to produce works that drew inspiration from these “faults.”
The overall process of molding the white porcelain clay on the potter’s wheel, drying it and carving out the shape of the vessel, making perforations while it is yet unfired, then biscuit firing it and filling each of the holes with clear glaze before the main firing, is that which remains the same as he previous works. However, by deliberately making cracks in the vessel before its main firing, it becomes greatly ruptured due to the power of the fire, resulting in a work in which the inside and outside of the vessel appear to be connected through the fissures. These works, which violently disclose the transient processes within ceramic works and the momentary beauty supported by them, are a new attempt by the artist, created by overlapping the essence of ceramics, which uses fire and soil to create shapes, and his refined techniques. The ceramic vessels seemingly exceed the volume of the mass that is formed, and the light and shadows that exude from their delicate surface serves to convey potential layers of space in a richly expressive manner.
In addition, this exhibition will also introduce Niisato's latest attempt, which while inheriting the form of ceramics, presents them in reverse and in suspension. The works, which deviate from exhibition conditions standard of ceramics that entails placing them on a table or pedestal, and instead move freely according to the flow of air, are presented to the viewer in a new appearance that is different from the delicate tactility and experience of light brought forth by his “Luminescent” series.