Gaku Shakunaga: New Pyramids in Black / Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo
July 10-19, 2014
Gaku Shakunaga (b. 1978) creates swirling stoneware pyramids drenched in luscious black glaze accentuated with lacquer. One of the younger ceramists of Yufuku, Shakunaga represents the future of Japanese ceramic sculptors, of artists who are not afraid to create non-functional ceramics that are devoid of function, and are challenging conceptual objects that are modes of expression as well as outlets for the artist’s aesthetics. Having graduated with a degree in sculpture from the leading Tokyo University of Arts, the most prestigious of art universities in Japan, Shakunaga’s new works find the artist combining the forms of his previous Sekiso series with his new-found muse in black.
Each and every Shakunaga work is comprised of individual clay slabs of varying thickness that are flattened using boards and are stacked upon one another in layers. Each slab is torn from a larger slab of clay using his hands, which leaves a rugged texture to his surfaces. His clay is a mixture of local Toyama clay, porcelain clay, and the Mogusa clay used in Shino ware. After an initial bisque-firing, a black glaze is air-brushed onto the surfaces, and the work is fired again in a gas kiln. In the final stages, Shakunaga sandblasts the surfaces of his works, and then polishes the surfaces and then low-fires the work to create a shimmering bronze-like lustre to his surfaces. Shakunaga’s technique is unique, and is the materialization of his fascination with stacking clay pieces together as if composing architecture.
The upcoming exhibition will display approx. 15 new works in both black and bronze glaze, and will be the artist’s largest body of new work since his previous exhibition in 2012.
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm. Final day closes at 4 pm.
Annecy Aoyama 1F
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Above: Gaku Shakunaga, Bronze Pyramid, 2014, Stoneware with bronze glaze, 59 x 23.5 x 22 cm.