Interview with Tanoue Shinya - Japanese ceramic artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011
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Ceramics Now Magazine : What was the starting point in your investigation with ceramics? Do you remember your early works?
Tanoue Shinya: When I was a student of Theology at the Doshisha University, I also belonged to the ceramic club. I was just absorbed to make something with clay in the club’s room. I worked for some textile company for two years after the graduation, and I entered Kyoto Saga Art College because I wanted to learn more throwing techniques. I remember the pieces I made in the college very well. The pieces I’ve made in my freshman year are the origins of my current series.
KARA-10: Fu- a, 2010, Glazed clay, 7” x 26” x 4 1/2” (h) - View his works
Your works may be simple, but the details, the lines and curves of your works are very sinuous. Tell us about how do you construct your pieces.
After creating the vessel or sculpture’s shape with coil techniques, the slip is applied on the surface. And then I groove the surface with needles one by one and at the end I rub iron into those grooves.
The important theme of my pieces is the shell - egg shells, shells of fruits or seashells, because they are deeply related to the normal circles of life. The cobalt blue in the pieces represent the ocean, which is the origin of life on Earth. The wombs are consideres to be the shell of human beings, so if I could express in my pieces the memories of leaving the wombs (leaving forever the protective and comfortable feeling), it would be wonderful.
In my recent works I use ceramic sculptures to investigate the elements of ambiguity and dynamic of opposites. Ambiguity is express by the contrast between appearance and reality. Looking at the precise shapes that enclose and contain space gives the impression of solid and massive bodies when they are in fact, surprisingly light and delicate.
The dynamic of opposite is express in a way that juxtaposes the precise and controlled building and graphic design of the ceramic work the unpredictable firing technique of “Naked Raku”.
In these works I’m dealing with issues such as tensions between polarities, with fragmentation and constructions and with illusions. These concepts are guidelines for my treatment of space in the context of surface-volume relationships. The division of the body surface between white and black, as well as the use of lines softens the shape, simultaneously placing the grid or lines on the edge of the shape, so that they follow the shape, completely dissolve the hard lines. Viewing from different angles, surface and volume are blurred, giving an illusion of flatness.
This idea is strengthened and extended by working with pairs or creating a composition of a few units, where new volumes and planes are achieved by way of the lines or grid are virtually joined; the ratio of parts to the whole is changing and two and three dimensions are played against each other in a sophisticated manner.
Simcha Even-Chen: Steady State
Simcha Even-Chen: Square Variation
Simcha Even-Chen: Square Enigma
Simcha Even-Chen: Split
Simcha Even-Chen: Rhythmus