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Sunday, September 14, 2008

modern Japanese ceramics

NOGUCHI and modern Japanese ceramics

When Louise Allison Cort designed the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and modern Japanese ceramics (now until May 30, 2004 the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, see link below), one of his goals was to shed new light on the old controversy of art from craft. In their introduction to the catalogue, Cort and his co-curator, Bert Winther-Tamaki, write, "Our goal is to illuminate the area of neglecting the interaction between the conceptions of art and crafts by focusing on the works of ceramic artists who believes the centre started with modernism, surrealism, and other issues of concern for international art world. "(Noguchi, exhibition catalogue, p. X)

The selection of Noguchi and his works in the ceramic medium opens up this subject as any other possible. It is a narrative in works by Noguchi that Winther-Tamaki explores in his catalogue essay A Close Embrace of the Earth. It is, however, the inclusion of the work of other Japanese "togeika", tradition-based work Kitaoji Rosanjin, Kaneshige Toyo Arakawa Toyozo and sculpture modernist work of group members Sodeisha, which provides the contrasts and convergences that make this exhibition a success.

The discussion of art and crafts is still underway as the USA and Japan. Commenting on the 2004 survey vote on the Top 20 Ceramic Japanese life (http://www.e-yakimono.net/html/honoho-rankings.html), Aoyama Wahei still finds that "critics see as pottery a means to an end, rather than being the end in itself. It's almost as if they are actively raising pottery greater art form-something similar to the paintings, 'installation art, sculpture and art ... "

C. Critic Arthur Danto wrote "The distinction (between high art and crafts) is still in force today, leaving behind the uncomfortable idea that art can not have a function, which is In desperate to keep the border closed. "Danto's main concern is to distinguish between objects, art, a non-art. It defines a work of art as a bearer of meaning which is devoted to the work. Ultimately, Danto is based on knowledge of the intention of the creator to define an object of art, which prevents forever Danto objets d'art. By placing Noguchi main pieces of ceramic side by side with Rosanjin Grand Jar Shigaraki , Did the same clay and embodying the strength similar Cort and Winther-Tamaki apparently reject such distinctions.

It is clear to see this exhibition, which works in clay were an important part of Noguchi personal story. Most of them were created in three distinct periods during trips to Japan. Noguchi estimated a link between the clay and part of his being Japanese. This is clear from its grounds, sometimes called from the images of the former Japan, reworked with a sense of modernity.

The Conservatives have organized an exhibition to focus on the issues of art against vessels in Noguchi's work. They range from purely sculptural, Japanese Haniwa influenced forms, such as war in place of plates made in a style clearly derived from its association with Rosanjin.

The art against crafts difference is highlighted by two similar works, the Tour de Lonely large vase (visible Noguchi Garden Museum site). Both are made of slabs, square pieces vertical portions of parts removed. If the title was the only reference, we could consider to be an art and the other functional business. When the founder of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, Teshigahara Sofu, select a container for its use, is the sculpture Lonely Tour.

Alongside the ceramic works by Noguchi, the exhibition has an almost equal number of other Japanese artists. Kitaoji Rosanjin Kaneshige Toyo and are very well known for their work in the historical traditions of ceramics. Kaneshige was responsible for breathing life into the old practices of Bizen potters. His work is undoubtedly unique and can not easily be confused with that of other Bizen masters who followed. In particular, freshwater Jar shown in this exhibition demonstrates a complete mastery of the one firing practices required by Bizen clay bodies and freedom of the incised decoration he lodges in the practices Bizen not find elsewhere.

Rosanjin could learn to create works in many traditional styles. A man of many professions, first a calligrapher, a restaurateur and finally turn to Potter to make dishes for his own restaurant, Rosanjin was more interested in understanding the spirit of a work that maintaining a specific tradition . The Grand Pot Shigaraki on the display makes use of the unique, feldspar over the properties of clay bodies Shigaraki, but extends the work of decoration with over the registration would not have been considered normal. A work of such force and originality can be made by one who has absorbed the content of a tradition and expression whose needs longer required.

Kawai Kanjiro is another artist who deals with issues of modernity. Kawai is best known in the west through his association with Bernard Leach and Hamada. However, after the Second World War, he turned away from the Mingei movement and worked completely on his own, participating in group shows over. Always the most complete artist Mingei potters, shocked by the changes in the post-war Japan, Kawai has a new modern sensibility of his works, the abandonment of the symmetry of the wheel and threw work to develop a vocabulary the mold formed asymmetrical objects such as flower pot with birds and Design.

The exhibited works of group members Sodeisha pottery, Kazuo Yagi, Suzuki and Osamu Yamada Hiraku represent almost a complete rejection of handicrafts traditions in which they had developed. The disappointment that some post World War II Japan has been estimated by traditional means and the influx of new international modes of expression obviously affect their work. Yagi Mr. Samsa 's Walk is purely sculptural. Inspired by the Metamorphosis of Kafka. It is tubular appendices to the rigid structure a sense of organic movement as an appropriate metaphor, not only for the Kafka reference, but also for changes in Japan at the time.

Yagi, the most influential Sodeisha artist, felt it was necessary to recognize the line between art and craft and declare which side of the line, it was. When the inclusion of one of his works in sculpture show a prestigious rather than the "boat" is in doubt, Yagi was forced to declare itself. "The sculpture is essentially the expression and is unconditional, while the boats, there must be an owner to use the play or watch. I doubt that the work that I would submit would be recognized as crafts, and I did not think it that the craft. "(Quoted in Cort Mrs. Alfred University conferences. See the link below.)

Noguchi double lobed vase is probably the least satisfactory of his works on display. We know from photographs that it was a collaborative effort, the two lobes be launched by another, then tied up and given their final form by Noguchi. Although unadorned, produced with the clay Bizen Kaneshige in the workshop Imbe, the two lobes attract too much attention to themselves to function well for floral arrangement. On its own the piece is not strong enough to hold his attention. The shortage is only a matter of form, an aesthetic that has little to do with a sense that the vessel can carry.

It is similar aesthetic Yagi missing in the small vase with two mouths. Clearly influenced by elements decorative style adapted from West modernist artists, these elements are not as wellintegrated across as with other Sodeisha works in the exhibition.

That still leaves the problem of how to characterize the least satisfactory work of Noguchi. It is too easy to say they are handicrafts, while other items are higher than the art. After all, Noguchi is an artist of great talent and a command of many materials. To do so would relegate the world of crafts outstanding many other works by Rosanjin Shigaraki Grand Jar Benvenutto the legendary Cellini Salt Cellar. The placement of these works in a unique exhibition of forces to use qualitative judgments to differentiate the experience of one of them and Kevin Hluch confirms that "the principle of refuse utility interests in the art of counterfeiting" ( http://www.criticalceramics.org/articles / decon.shtml).


Japanese American National Museum
369 east, First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-625-0414

"Isamu Noguchi and modern Japanese ceramics," Freer-Sackler Galleries online exhibition, http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online.htm.

Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, http://www.noguchi.org/.

Exploration in the mud: avant-garde post-war ceramic Japan, the sixth annual report Wilson Dorothy Perkins ceramic history conference, Alfred University, Lousie Allison Cort, http://ceramicsmuseum.alfred.edu/perkins_lect_series/cort/corttalk . html

2001 Rank: largest and most popular Japanese Potteries last 100 years, Honoho Geijutsu, http://www.e-yakimono.net/html/honoho-rankings.html.

Wesley C. Rolley
17211 Quail Court
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

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