July 31, 2012

nagae shigekazu: forms in succession

“this new series is comprised of various shapes, whether they be triangular, rectangular or hexagonal, that are assorted as sets, then hung within a kiln and fired accordingly. through kiln firing, the various curves and surfaces coalesce and unite in succession, thereby creating changing forms. such is my intent.

glaze is applied to each connecting part before firing. then the pieces are suspended in mid-air within the kiln. as the glaze melts through the kiln fires, it crystalizes into glass. thus what is left are “ceramic forms in succession.’”
nagae shigekazu

nagae shigekazu (born in 1953), is one of the leading pioneers of porcelain casting and firing techniques in japan. casting is commonly associated with the mass production of porcelain, yet nagae valiantly transcends this stereotype, ultimately elevating this technique to the avant-garde. casting alone cannot achieve the natural movements found within nagae’s forms. in fact, the intensity of his gas-kiln fires help mould, shape and curve his delicate white porcelain, thereby giving birth to sleek and razor-thin silhouettes that have become nagae trademarks.

nagae’s latest works, his first since 2005, test the limits of his ingenious porcelain casting techniques, and are the culmination of his extensive experiments and research into the qualities of both clay and fire. called tsuranari no katachi (forms in succession), they are essentially porcelain objects that contain individually casted porcelain shapes that are attached together. after each separate shape is slip-casted through a bisque-firing, they are combined by glazing the joints and suspending the work in mid-air within nagae’s kiln. as the glaze melts and crystalises in the kiln fires, the pieces are successfully attached. yet at the same time, the luscious draping and tapering of his organic curves are borne through “chance” natural kiln effects.
excerpted from ceramics now

photos via ceramics now, barry snelson, and alberto andres