To call the ceramics dealer Jason Jacques “quirky” an understatement. His booth designs and for that matter his constant bizarre transformations of his upper East side gallery are startling, at times flattering, at other times full of visual chaos. They evoke everything from a late 19th century opium den to a roller coaster ride or a steel octopus. They draw mixed reviews but he remains unmoved by criticism, going from one moment of excess to another.
So when it became known that Katsuyo Aoki, an artist from Japan that the gallery describes as “the greatest porcelain artist living today” (a claim that would be shamelessly overstated if it were not, arguably true) was going to find herself encased in a bolted and riveted black metal room, its seemed to be a disastrous choice for her virtuosic baroque filigree.
In fact Katsuyo Aoki: Dark Globe (New York, January 21 – February 21, 2016) proved to be the perfect dramatic counterpoint. Many of Katsuyo Aoki’s works draw from 18th century pageantry, weapons and ornate helmets, mixed chords of life and death, of battle and conquest. I took away the feeling of having seen her show from inside a giant suit of armor.
This is the artist’s second New York solo exhibition. I should point out that her first took place in Greenwhich House Pottery and Mark Del Vecchio and I bought the entire installation. When the gift of our collection was shown at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston it occupied a gallery on its own and was one of this vast exhibition’s highest points. We no longer own her work but we have continued to follow her career with a sense of awe.
I will be following this post with two more in the coming weeks, reaching more deeply into her work, and her motivations. I will also post a FotoFile presentation on the extraordinary installation, which is shortlisted for our 2016 exhibition awards.
Garth Clark is the Editor-in-Chief of cfile.daily.
What do you think of Katsuyo Aoki’s contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.