For my fine art exploratory project, I began my research on Kintsugi, an artistic Japanese technique which repairs broken ceramics with gold lacquer. The translation of Kintsugi means “golden joinery”, or “to patch with gold”. The cracks of broken pottery and the missing pieces represent flaws, and history. Metaphorically, if we were to apply this concept in our lives, it means we should find value in our imperfections, such as ageing, or loss. This perception of life is known in Japan as wabi-sabi.
I was drawn to explore Kintsugi after my teapot broke whilst removing the cast. The concept of “beauty” is what intrigued me, because I thought this could be manipulated in some way with my casts. So when I discovered Takuro Kuwata, I thought that his sculptures were definitely grotesque, but could beauty be found in some way too?
(Both) Untitled, porcelain, 2014
There is something satisfying in the thick, waxy, runny textures, perhaps just as satisfying as beauty itself. It provokes the viewer in the sense of touch, because the textures are so tangible. It may seem unrefined compared to Kintsugi, however they actually both incorporate wabi-sabi. Kuwata demonstrates a more organic, rustic approach to the aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi, by distorting the teapot through colour, like the use of hues in the orange teapot, or in shape and form, with futuristic, metallic elements. Even the cracks in Kuwata’s pieces are different to the elegance of Kintsugi cracks, yet they are both connected to the same concept of discovering beauty in flaws.
For my workshop session next Monday, I plan to cast the rest of my objects, a dessertspoon and the ash tray, and also to create organic structures just like Kuwata, by pouring wax and coloured wax into cold water.