BOCA RATON, Florida—Paris-based Franco-Beninese ceramist King Houndekpinkou will be speaking and showing a brief video on his Benin-Bizen Project and his relationship to ceramics in Africa and Japan as part of Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Ceramics Symposium (Nov. 11). The panel discussion surrounds the exciting exhibition Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter, in which several of Houndekpinkous sculptural vases are included.
The panel discussion, curated by Garth Clark, also features ceramic art collectors who loaned works for the exhibition along with several leading national and international ceramic artists.
While born and based in Paris, Houndekpinkou’s cultural roots draw from the African Republic of Benin and in terms of ceramics, Japan. He didn’t start out in ceramics—he says it found him. “I felt something when I saw it. It was like magic,” the ceramist explains, retelling the story of discovering clay on his first trip to Japan at the age of twenty-four. He was intrigued by the Ancient pottery kilns, Shigaraki, Bizen and Tamba. There, King was amazed by their ceremonial approach to blending earth, water, air and fire to create ceramics with a crude aesthetic. For him, their practice is reminiscent of Benin’s animist traditions of Voodoo, both searched for a fused relationship between man and nature in order to guide their existence. It was an unexpected marriage.
Guided by this global worldview, Houndekpinkou began his BB Project (Benin-Bizen) in 2016 blending ceramic techniques and local materials from Bizen, Japan, and the pottery village of Sè, near his father’s native lands in Southwest Benin. His hybrid works shed a new light on cross-cultural dialogue for clay as a primary form of plastic expression across nations.
All images courtesy: Vallois Gallery, New York and Paris
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