After testing, gathering and creating a body of work I decided to take a number of the objects down to the photography studio to play with composition and ultimately develop some form of language between the forms I have manufactured. with the idea of memory very much at mind, what narrative where these objects beginning to speak? and by pairing them in compositions how did they bounce off and work with each other?
I like the idea of looking upon these series of objects as an alphabet, a physical, sensorial language that challenges semiotical ways of viewing sculpture.
Although I really enjoy the images that I have taken of the objects I have made so far I am unsure at this point in time that the actual objects themselves are representational of the concepts that I hold to my project ( that of personal memory and ideas surrounding sentimentality and nostalgia). Although These objects are highly subjective to my own personal experiences and are thus abstracted as a representation of myself, to some degree I want the experience of my objects to be understood by a collective, to be interpreted in a certain way or to make people feel a certain ‘vibe’ you could say.
I am at a turning point. Where I have created a series of objects in response to my intuition and intuitively/contemporarily glazed. Ideas of nostalgia and ‘the child at play’ dominate my theoretical standpoint and to some extent, I do believe my objects represent that, although I do believe these objects are also disjointed.
Personally, these objects subjectively are based on early childhood memories – where as a child because both of my parents were busy working I was usually dumped on a construction site with my dad. In that moment I was incredibly bored, twiddling my thumbs and finding ways to play and keep myself busy. Not until looking back now as an adult do I firstly see how easy things were back then and now really reside and reminisce over the events that took place, where the world of working and childhood play intermingled. It is interesting now from really studying these events do I realize how relevant it is within my studio practice.
Continuing with my glaze experimentation I began the ongoing tradition of submerging extruder parts in various glazes to see how the various chemicals react with one another, more so experimenting with volcanic sand in various glazes and porcelains to test and push its reactive qualities after a friend showed me various effects of the volcanic sand on a variety of ceramic bodies.
With memory, nostalgia, and sentimentality very much at the forefront of my contemporary ideas I began to try and see how glaze can be incorporated further as an approach for these sculptures; thinking back to how the dry vitreous slip resembled that of the cracked earth on the farm in the summer I began reminiscing, expressing and attempting to demonstrate material interests that have alluded me my whole life, even if at this current moment in time I am completely unsure why.
Volcanos, rocks and magma patterns have always interested me and are something that creeps its way into many of my sketchbook ideas, prints, and sculptural works. Until recently, with a greater understanding of ceramic alchemy have I been able to visually demonstrate this. Weirdly, it is not natural volcanos that seem to allude my memories, more so cartoon, digitized and comical portrayals of lava – immaterial representations of natural phenomena. Colours like orange, red, black and white ooze their way from my past into my more recent memories from watching television programs such as cartoon network, nickelodeon and the bright red RAW advertisement of WWF. You could say this is a harmless subliminal messaging of sorts, unintentional but purely situational. By placing the nickelodeon or cartoon network logo in the corner of the screen it’s a sort of branding rather than insidious brain washing tool, none the less has an effect of sorts.
much like memory, I want my sculptures to represent the ‘mish-mash’ of things. Memory for myself is just one giant cluster of ideas and experiences formed by the brain from the past and present all jumbled and reassembled in reality.
Takuro Kuwatas work is rooted in Japanese technique and history, One of which is the traditional technique of ishi-haze or stone explosion, in which stones are allowed to overheat in the kiln to the point where they rupture and distort. Conventionally, this technique is used in the making of traditional Japanese tea ceramics; however, Kuwata uses his oversized rocks to distort, melt or explode within the firing process. Kuwata also employs kairagi, another famous Japanese technique in which is used to create imperfections within the glaze, as a result the glaze shrinks and cracks. Kuwata is unconventionally drawn to the imperfections that are produced from these processes and implements them to their extreme.
The uncertainty of the method allows Kuwata to stand back and let the firing and material processes take control over the resulting form, enhancing the organic nature and dysfunctionality of his objects.It is the oozing glaze and tactile nature of Kuwata’s work and his material understanding in relation to his sense of identity and heritage that originally drew me in.
Kuwata’s practice is firmly rooted in Japanese history and aesthetics. The characteristics of the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, which focuses on imperfect and incomplete beauty, including asymmetry and asperity, are all evident in Kuwata’s work.
Born in Hiroshima, but removed from the aftermath of World War II, Kuwata is offering a contemporary view of postwar Japanese anxiety as well as demonstrating a correlation between Japan’s recent natural and social disasters.
As a result of the artist’s history and past, The natural world plays an active role in Kuwata’s practice, with bursting stones and broken glazes acting as metaphors for erupting volcanoes and earthquakes, and even potentially the Hiroshima disaster that eludes his heritage, engendering beauty through destruction.