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Stylish statements

An exhibition of works by 30 Japanese artists impresses by its sophistication



Original compositions. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

THE CONSULATE General of Japan and Japan Foundation have brought to the city an interesting exhibition of contemporary clay works from the land of the rising sun. Over 40 works of nearly 30 artists are on display, representing a fine variety of ideas and techniques. While many of the artists attract the viewer with their sparkling skills and original methods, others impress by their sheer mastery in making powerful visual statements through a rather unusual medium. The works are categorised into vessel-form objects, figurative images, geometric compositions and organic forms. Vessel form is quite common in earthenware as also stoneware, but that does not deter a talented craftsman from experimenting and engineering some interesting variations and adaptations. If Takiguchi Kazuo depends on providing smooth surfaces in his untitled works, Domon Kunikatsu uses rough, uneven exteriors in Inconstant Strata to create a swirling feel. As is apparent from the title, Porcelain Plate `Clear', Fukami Sueharu's is a flat work, which also strikes on some varying levels. Yanagihara Mutsuo seems a bit flashy in his Inversion 2 and Crossing Wind and in contrast, Miyashita Zenji's Faraway has a softly arresting, subdued feel, while depicting a hazy landscape. The figurative images' section throws up some adventurous achievements. Araki Takako, in his two works titled Degenerating Bible and Bible in the Sand, portrays the holy book in an evocative fashion while Sasayam Tadayasu's effort, Red Mandala House is more upright in its structured and architectural appearance.

Some of the works in this group are not fully comprehensible in their interpretations as in Nakamura Kinpei's two works, titled Introduction to Japanese Taste, but Matsuda Yuriko in his six disconnected pieces manages to create a curious assemblage (Carry on, Carry on!). The piece de resistance, though, comes from an astonishing grouping achieved by Mishima Kimiyo in Package 82-B, where crumpled newspaper seem to spill out from a cardboard box. The result is simply amazing and one can only marvel at the artist's ability to use such a simple theme to create a brilliant work of art. In comparison, Miwa Ryosaku's Solar Eclipse, showing the face of an anguished person is a bit theatrical, while his other work, K's Last Will is more simplistic in its form and appearance. Kumakura Junkichi's Melody is grand in its blue attire but Suzuki Osamu impresses by soft sophistication in his two works, Horse and Child With A Red Face. There are several interesting works in the Geometric Compositions category, as well. Kaneko Jun's untitled works have a distinct perspective, even in their apparently simple textured existence, while Nakamura Kohei's Media Of Memory, encases a symbolic partition beside a fallen conical structure. Hayashi Hideyuki's Mask has a neat shape and construction, as is Morino Hiroaki in Black Vase and Work 75-16. Miyanaga Tozan III brings three asymmetrical works, immaculately composed but of shiny temper, while Yamada Hikaru places more emphasis in structural solidity in his work Clay Wall. The Organic Forms section features four artists. While Akiyama Yo in his Bud Series, and Imura Toshimi (Hollow 2002-7) depend on smooth but often undulating formation, Maeda Tsuyoshi (The Vacant) tries to add some glitter through the golden wrappings atop his work. Hayami Shiro (Love) settles for a smooth and sober finish.

The exhibition is unique and unusual in the sense that the viewer is often transported to a different world. Some of the works look as if they are made out of hard metal, when in fact their existence is entrenched in such a delicate and gentle material as clay. It is also amazing that the artists are able to create some visually stimulating and satisfying works to express their distinctiveness in Japanese culture. The exhibition concludes on March 22 at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

ATHREYA

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