Online Seminar

The Sphere: The Starting Point for Changes

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The circle is a form so intuitive and universal and so familiar to all of us.
The circle, the origin of all and a symbol of an architype, so perfect that nothing could be added or deleted,
Endlessness without beginning or end,
Since long ago, we have given many meanings to this round form.
The circle exists everywhere,
Constantly telling stories.
Traces of life,
Preparation for rebirth,
Our stars, and the traces of stars
Our universe,
Our mother’s cozy nest,
Invisible tiny particles,
They all seem different yet look like each other.
And a wondrous system composed of them.
Round and round the seasons go,
There’s always a sunrise and a sunset,
All of this can be seen in a circle.

My work starts with a sphere. A completely closed three-dimensional object is opened and undergoes change. And that is the essence of my stories. Imperfect pieces come into being as they begin to disintegrate. Although these pieces are imperfect, they offer certain possibilities when joined with other pieces and start to interact in new ways. Possibility is a critical force of creation and expansion of a space that inevitably creates change. And that is like a system of life that endlessly repeats the cycle of birth and death.

I use digital technology as a tool to give shape to my work. The roles of the computer and machines are clearly defined. They are to get data that can be predicted through 3D modeling, for example to figure angles for joining pieces and weight, determine how pieces should be cut, and do drawings for CNC machining. Through virtual modeling, I aim to minimize trial and error when producing a real artwork.

At this point, use of the computer and machining in the field of crafts cannot be denied at all. However, the arbitrary and uncertain senses and emotions that are required for the creative production process are only realized at the fingertips of the artist. This can hardly be done by machines and computers, at least not yet.

I don’t have any particular craftsmanship skill for my work. I have produced tools adequate for my work based on my own understanding and experience about materials that I have accumulated over so many hours and so much trial and error, and I precisely cut and join units made of clay, And I have mastered the very basic attitude needed for working with clay, which I think has become a solid foundation for my work.

A sphere is a very interesting three-dimensional object. First, a sphere is impartial. You get the same result regardless of whatever plane you combine with it. That is, it is open to all directions. And when a sphere is divided into several pieces, it gets interesting. Unlike the exterior of a sphere, which by definition looks the same in every direction, the cross sections with planes show diverse linear images. They create different images and expand space through combination. A sphere is a three-dimensional object that is very accommodating of change.

The cutting process is the important of all my work processes. Given the nature of the material called clay, cutting clay is completely unlike cutting paper with a knife. In this process, there is always a conflict between the cutting device and the clay. That is, the clay is more or less damaged. As even slight damage can influence the entire structure, I need to be especially careful. There must be optimal clay moisture and tool condition, as if they are dancing to the rhythm.

The linear image flowing and joining along cross sections is one of the most important constituents of my work. In fact, all lines are already contained in this round three-dimensional object. What I do is merely find images needed for my work and connect them. Although I have a knife in my hand, a sphere is still all the same.

The process of joining pieces is somewhat delicate in my work. Joining planes three-dimensionally with utmost precision is the key. Any gap along the joint should be as closed as much as possible. And the change in moisture of the clay, which depends on the shape and thickness, should also be considered. Because production is relatively time-consuming, I maintain the moisture evenly at all times. In short, this is a matter of materials and tools.

After bisque firing at about 900 ℃, I sand all the planes evenly. I repeat this process again after second firing.

There is neither a front fixed plane nor a specific axis. The direction by which I confront my work depends on how I look at it and feel about it. Each viewer will naturally see my works differently, and the viewer’s reaction will be informed by his or her experience and thinking. The image of a sphere as a circle can be different to anybody.

After all the work is done, I start photographing the piece myself. In fact, my knowledge of photography is very poor, And since photography is such a specialized field, I don’t necessarily expect to produce good results. I only try to find various aspects of my work from an artist’s perspective. Photography is not merely a process of leaving a record, and it is part of the process of reproduction and expansion of other images. Images become motifs and inspiration for my next work. My work is also to depict successive circles.

I hope that my work stands as a metaphor for the viewer to contain his or her thoughts, experience, and feelings. What is contained in your circle, What is to be seen and what to be kept, What is there to see and where to go, These stories are all alike yet different from each other and continue without end.