Yesterday we offered Kyoto as a destination for art, but the arts and culture of Japan’s ancient capital are alive and well in New York as well. In an unprecedented collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, “Points of Departure” is currently on view at the Japan Society Gallery. The exhibition showcases 2000 years of dazzling, unique, art-making in an attempt to depart from “the myth of a homogeneous Japan.”
An exemplary artist, in my opinion, is the ceramicist Fukami Sueharu. Conceptual and abstract, Sueharu’s porcelain forms are often considered a reaction to Japan’s history of traditional, utilitarian ceramics. The large, soaring forms and curved edges – they’re at times wave-like – are made by injecting liquid clay into molds and then carefully refining the edges. The bluish hues come from a traditional glaze that harkens back to Chinese, Korean and Japanese traditional wares. Fukami recalls an experience by the ocean when he was in his early 20s that was a defining moment in his career:
It was the memory of an encounter I had with a sharp breeze while on the cliff during winter… All the senses in my body felt the pleasure of the strange wind as it stabbed my cheek. This tactile experience is at the heart of my creations.