Welcome back to Spotted, your Monday resource for gems scattered about the worlds of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art! We’re kicking off this week with work by Korean artist Yeesookyung, who is achieving greatness with the old art of kintsugi, or repairing broken ceramics with spiderwebbed threads of gold.
(The artist) was first inspired by the Korean artisan tradition of destroying porcelain works that are not deemed pristine, and she has continued to make the fused pieces since 2001. Intrigued by these tossed aside works and shards, Yee began saving fragmented tea cups and pots rejected by contemporary masters. Honoring the works’ dismantled states, she traces each crevice in 24-karat gold leaf in the style of Japanese kintsugi, merging the unwanted works together in a way that heightens the beauty of their distress. In this way she blends diverse methods to form a contemporary process that evokes both the elegant designs of her homeland and the delicate rebuilding of damaged works in Japanese tradition.
Works by Ipek Kotan at Puls
Staying on the topic of nature, the sublime and timeless works by Ipek Kotan (1977 Istanbul, Turkey) are often compared to precious stones, Puls states. Gems and minerals such as amethyst or pyrite can look like common rocks from the outside, but when you look inside them, you discover a magnificent microcosm; it is as if all the beauty in the universe got extracted and distilled into these little colorful rocks of shimmery, glassy or metallic crystals. It is precisely this kind of beauty Ipek Kotan is striving for.
Her pieces show an impeccable craftsmanship combined with an attitude of extreme independence. With all her rigour and stringency she creates variation upon variation of her elegant minimalist vessels. Working in dark stoneware or pure white porcelain clay Kotan varies the height and the angle of the rim or the thickness of the wall of her bowls and sands outer edges by hand until these become silky smooth, almost like marble. This perfection is striking on its own but peer inside and a new dimension unfolds. Framed like a painting in the midst of the bowl you’ll find the insides glowing with one of Kotan’s mystifying glazes. It is that delightful contrast between the inside and the outside that allows for the comparison to gemstones; the rough unpolished looking exterior of an amethyst rock and its breathtaking, rich and complex interior.
Nathalie Doyen, also at Puls
While out walking, Nathalie Doyen (1964, Tournai Belgium) uses a magnifying glass to inspect vegetation, mosses, bark and stones, Puls states. She is known to examine natural science encyclopaedia admiring scales, carapaces, lichens, leaves and animal skins. In both instances she is searching for a rhythm and a detail to bring to her distinctive art.
Doyen trained as a classic potter making vessels. She won prizes and awards but started to feel stuck in this cycle of seeking eternal perfection. No longer content to produce works to fill the shelves or pedestals of galleries she began to deform perfection and then to deconstruct. She moved from the perceived constraints of the potters studio to the world of sculpture, conquering new grounds, creating installations indoors and outdoors, from large scale to miniature, temporary or permanent by using diverse materials ranging from clay, paper and stone to shells, cement and bricks. Doing so she always remained connected to her main source of inspiration: Nature.
Sara Flynn at Erskine Hall and Coe
Flynn’s vessels are thrown porcelain and feature tactile surfaces and colours ranging from cool and subtle whites and celadons to rich and complex greys, blacks and yellows, the gallery states. Since her last show at Erskine, Hall & Coe in 2014, she began experimenting with cast bronze, two pieces of which will be featured in this exhibition and displayed to a public audience for the first time.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments!